The East London Transit will provide people travelling in east London with faster, more reliable journeys with improved frequencies
A £26m high frequency bus service that will carry six million passengers a year ran its first weekday services in east London today (22 February).
The East London Transit (ELT) will provide a fast and direct link between Ilford, Barking and Dagenham Dock.
Sixteen brand new buses have been manufactured exclusively for the route, which will have ten buses an hour route.
They have been fitted with the latest environmentally friendly technology as well as Transport for London's (TfL's) real-time information iBus system.
Passengers will also notice extra legroom on the buses which run on a route that was bus lanes specifically located through the busier parts of town.
By 2013, more than 30 per cent of the route will be completely segregated from general traffic.
A number of streetscape improvements have also been delivered as part of work on the new service including extra parking, road re-surfacing, better street lighting, upgraded bus stops and shelters and improved public spaces.
The ELT also adds to work taking place to kick-start regeneration of the Thames Gateway.
It will provide new transport links to Tube and National Rail stations as well as improving connections between Ilford and Barking town centre, and providing bus services for residents on the Barking Riverside development.
Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor of London's transport advisor, said: 'The East London Transit delivers on the Mayor's commitment to provide better links between local communities and jobs.
'It provides a direct bus link to Dagenham Dock, which was not previously served by local buses, and will play a key role in the development of the area.
'Valuable improvements have been made to local roads and public spaces as part of this project that also contributes to the Mayor's aim of improving the public realm and the overall look and feel of the Capital.'
David Brown, TfL's Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: 'The distinctive new buses operating along the East London Transit will provide people travelling in east London with faster, more reliable journeys with improved frequencies.
'The routes will also provide a bus service in the heart of Barking town centre for the first time in years.'
TfL has worked closely with local residents and the two boroughs where the new bus routes will run.
Both Barking & Dagenham and Redbridge councils have provided strong support for the ELT in recognition of the better transport links it will provide.
Mick McCarthy, Barking & Dagenham Councillor for Regeneration, said: 'This is good news for the businesses and residents of our borough.
'It will provide a quick and reliable service between Barking town centre and the residential and industrial areas along the route and will, we hope, help attract inward investment, promote opportunities for local people and help drive our regeneration projects forward.'
Nick Hayes, Redbridge Councillor Cabinet Member for Planning and Regeneration, said: 'The East London Transit will provide useful links to the businesses and services to Ilford Town Centre and Ilford Lane.'
A number of key partners have provided funding for the ELT including the Homes and Communities Agency and the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation.
Jonathan Martin, Head of Area for East London for the Homes and Communities Agency, said: 'For anyone looking to buy a house, local transport links will play an important part in their decision.
'With the regeneration of Barking Riverside picking up pace, the East London Transit will open up Barking and east London to present and future residents.
'The HCA's support for this bus route echoes our commitment to creating not just houses but whole communities built around strong transport links and local provisions.'
Peter Andrews, Chief Executive of London Thames Gateway Development Corporation, said: 'Our investment in the East London Transit signifies the intrinsic link between transport connections and the comprehensive regeneration of the area.
'The routes will vastly improve access for residents living and working here and will also act as a catalyst for bringing developments out of the ground in Barking and Dagenham Dock.'
Work is now under way for the next phase of the ELT project, which will extend the service to operate between Barking and Dagenham Dock via the new Barking Riverside Development. Construction work on the second phase is expected to begin in 2013.
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