Quality Line, the bus operating division of Epsom Coaches Group, has placed an order for 12 of Optare’s innovative MetroCity urban bus for delivery early in 2014.
The order, which is the first for MetroCity, was confirmed by Epsom’s Managing Director Steve Whiteway during a visit to the Coach & Bus Live show in Birmingham last week.
It is also the first order for Euro 6 emissions compliant vehicles to be won by Optare and meets TfL’s requirements for new buses entering service in London after the end of this year.
Epsom Coaches made the decision to introduce MetroCity into its fleet following a comprehensive evaluation of the model on some of its most demanding routes, which showed the vehicle to be ideally suited to intensive urban operations and to deliver exceptional fuel efficiency.
Steve Whiteway commented: “Our experience with Optare products over a number of years has been very positive and we are delighted to be first operator to order MetroCity, which has been designed with the unique operating conditions of London in mind. The modern styling also gives these buses great kerb appeal and along with easy access and a bright airy feel inside the saloon, I know that they will prove popular with our passengers.
“ The excellent fuel consumption during the evaluation backed by our experience of Optare products over more than ten years shows that whole life costs and durability are the best in their class. We look forward to more of the same when these impressive additions to our fleet go on the road in the first quarter of next year.”
John Horn, Optare Sales Director, adds: “I’m delighted that Epsom Coaches is the first operator to place an order for MetroCity, which has been designed with London operation in mind. Its low weight yet strong integral construction will result in good fuel efficiency throughout a long service life and both drivers and passengers will enjoy a comfortable travelling experience.”
MetroCity derives many of its design and structural features from the Versa model and uses the same fully integral stainless-steel structure to achieve low weight. It also shares the same distinctive styling that operators have come to expect from Optare.
The power unit in the Epsom MetroCitys, which are to be the 9.9m variant, will be the four-cylinder Mercedes-Benz OM934LA Euro 6 engine. This will be matched to the Allison 2100 Series automatic transmission, which has six gears because Metrocity has a 5.13:1 ratio drive axle. A Klam electromagnetic retarder activated through the brake pedal improves braking performance and reduces wear on the service brakes.
Optare’s Eco Drive™ instrument panel is standard and will provide direct feedback to the driver through an easy to read TFT screen, monitoring key driver performance indicators such as acceleration and braking as well as being an aid to better fuel efficiency and safer driving. The moulded driving compartment has been designed for easy cleaning and features a fully adjustable, air-suspended seat and a fixed protection screen.