Delivery by Optare of a second Solo SR to Ross Travel Group brings the Yorkshire company closer to achieving an all low-floor fleet ahead of the end 2015 deadline.
The Featherstone based family-run firm took its first Solo SR in 2010 and has ordered a third for delivery next year. It also has a number of earlier Solos in its 12-stong bus fleet and has operated the type since 2005.
The new 9.7 metre Solo SR has gone onto Ross Travel Group’s ‘Featherstone Rover’ local services that run between Featherstone, Pontefract, Castleford and Wakefield. With a seating capacity of 36 on 33 fixed Esteban Civic V2 seats plus three tip-ups in the wheelchair /buggy bay, the Solo SR is an ideal size for these high frequency services. To cope with higher peak time loadings the passenger capacity can rise to 54 with standees, yet the bus is economical to operate at quieter times of the day when numbers are low.
Wheelchair access is by means of a simple ‘book leaf’ manual fold-out ramp and is made easier by the Solo SR’s kneeling capability which takes the entrance height down to just 8 inches (200 mm).
Power is provided by a Mercedes-Benz OM904LA engine rated at 154 bhp (115 kW) and which has a torque output of 610 Nm. This performance enables the bus to cope well with all road and passenger load conditions without compromising on fuel efficiency.
The engine is matched to an Allison 2100 series five-speed automatic transmission with full CAN electronic interface with the engine for optimum performance. A lock-up torque converter in gears 3, 4 and 5 along with an electro-magnetic retarder activated automatically when the brakes are applied both contribute to better fuel economy.
The company maintains the buses and its coach fleet in a well-equipped workshop at its Featherstone base, with buses undergoing a full safety inspection every 14 days.
Founded by Peter Ross 45 years ago, Ross Travel Group operates a network of local bus services, school contracts, coach private hire including coaches with disabled access, and has its own holiday tours and excursions programme. More information is available at www.rosstravelgroup.co.uk.