Luton DART officially open

The Luton Airport Direct Air to Rail Transit system, or DART, officially opened to paying passengers on March 27th. The link replaces the bus service between Luton Airport Parkway station and the airport.

A fast and efficient connection from the station improves the journey time and convenience for those choosing to arrive by rail. It’s also fully accessible, making it easier than ever for those with mobility challenges or towing heavy luggage.

The opening of the DART also enables a new Luton Airport Express service for passengers travelling between the airport and London. In partnership with East Midlands Railway, passengers can get an all-in-one ticket that delivers them from St Pancras station to the airport in just 32 minutes. Trains run every half an hour.

Making the train an attractive choice for passengers supports the airport’s target of getting 45% of journeys to and from the airport by public transport by 2029. Choosing to take the train in turns helps to limit air pollution, congestion and greenhouse gas emissions from journeys to and from the airport.

Those hoping for net reductions in air pollution, congestion and emissions are likely to be disappointed however, as the DART also serves the airport’s long term expansion plans. More people might be taking public transport, but there would be double the number of passengers and so no actual decrease in local impacts. Residents should expect “an increase in traffic as a result of the expanded airport”, with recent consultation documents including potential changes to roads and junctions.

From a climate change point of view then, the DART reduces the emissions of individual passenger journeys, and that is very positive. But in the context of airport expansion, it won’t make much of a dent in the the enormous increase in climate pollution.

The DART is owned and operated by Luton Rising on behalf of the council, and local residents can buy tickets at half price – though you have to apply in advance for this.


Published by Jeremy Williams

Jeremy is an author and activist based in Luton. He writes serious books for adults, less serious books for children. His blog, The Earthbound Report, has been recognised as the best green blog in the UK by Vuelio and the UK Blog Awards.

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