Optare has completed delivery of the largest ever bus order placed by fast-growing North East independent Perryman’s Buses, with the handover of 12 of its Versa model to the family-run firm.
Director Richard Perryman received the 11.7 metre Versas from Optare Sales Director John Horn at a ceremony at the company’s new Borders Depot.
Also present was Operations Manager Roddy Perryman who said that Optare’s impressive on-time delivery of the Versas meant that they could go immediately into service on new contracts awarded by the Scottish Borders Council serving rural communities across the Central Borders, Midlothian and Northumberland.
He commented: “What an unforgettable Summer! From being awarded the contract at the beginning of June we had a real challenge on our hands. We had to set up a Central Borders depot, recruit a team of staff, and provide the public with a fleet of buses that were modern, comfortable and reliable. As well as me and my father Richard, my mother Linda, also a director of the company, played a central role in making all of this happen.
“And with Optare delivering the first eight vehicles on time we were able to commence a full service on the designated contract start date of 12th August! As soon as they entered service the positive feedback from our customers and staff came flooding in and to say they’re happy with their new buses is an understatement!”
In just ten weeks from the contract being awarded the company found a site at St Boswells on the A68 in the heart of the Borders at which to set up its new depot and a total of 27 new employees were taken on. At the beginning of June it placed the order with Optare for the high specification Versas, which feature leather trimmed seats, wood-effect floor covering, a nine camera CCTV system from Transport Technology Solutions, Telit in-cab communications system supplied by Cellular Solutions, and Mobitec ‘next stop’ audio-visual announcement equipment.
Speaking at the handover event, Optare Sales Director, John Horn, said: “I’m delighted that our low weight 11.7 metre Versa has been chosen by Perryman’s for these new contracts. The model is very well suited to the operating conditions in the Borders and I have no doubt that it will provide comfortable travel conditions for local people using these services.
“Once again the proven reliability and fuel efficiency of Versa have been key factors in the decision to choose this model from amongst the several makes that Perryman’s evaluated.”
Power is from the six-cylinder Cummins ISBe engine rated at 201 bhp (150 kW). The engine is matched to a five-speed Allison automatic transmission that features a lock-up torque converter for improved fuel efficiency. A Klam electro-magnetic retarder automatically actuated through the brake pedal is also fitted as standard providing smoother retardation and contributing to better fuel consumption and reduced brake wear.
Another major factor in enhancing the fuel efficiency is the Optare EcoDrive dashboard, which constantly monitors how the bus is being driven and provided real time feedback to the driver. This feature is a standard fitment on all Optare products and Perryman’s has considerable experience of it. Roddy Perryman says he has no doubt that it assists drivers in adopting improved driving habits to deliver optimum fuel economy and a safer, more comfortable passenger travelling experience.