A HI-TECH bus system which will link Gravesend and Dartford has failed to attract private funding, according to Kent County Council (KCC).

Wheels were set in motion last year to build a innovative public transport system by 2005, with buses as frequent as tubes and ticket machines at stops.

KCC chiefs received £8m from the Government for the Fastrack scheme and were hoping to secure a further £7m from the private sector.

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But, a year on, it has been revealed private developers, such as Land Securities, are unwilling to invest in phase one.

Although KCC officers insist there will be no delays to the first part of the Fastrack scheme, a KCC report states the county council will now have to put in a bid for more government money which is “critical in terms of timing if Fastrack is to proceed to schedule”.

The annual progress report states: “Discussions over the past 12 months with developers now reveal they are unwilling to provide contributions to the cost of constructing the infrastructure for phase one.

“This is because they see that substantial funds are needed for the future sections of Fastrack which relate directly to their own developments.”

A Land Securities spokesman insists the company is “totally committed” to Fastrack.

He said: “The company, like many other parties involved, will actively and financially assist in the creation of Fastrack through a full and fair share of contributions as regeneration and development progresses across Kent Thames-side.”

Phase one of the Fastrack system will link Dartford and Gravesend via Darent Valley Hospital, Bluewater and Greenhithe station.

Phase two, which is due to be completed by 2010, will link the new international station at Ebbsfleet with Gravesend.

The buses will have segregated tracks and priority over general traffic. There will be satellite tracking to give waiting passengers up-to-date information.

A KCC spokesman said: “There is no reason for us to worry at this stage. We are looking forward to a positive response from the Government.”