Penrith based Alba Travel have added another Optare Solo SR to their fleet for use on a new contract in the Lake District. Their choice of the 2.3 metre wide Slimline model reflects the narrow road conditions along most of the route the bus will follow.
The contract awarded by the Lake District National Park is for the X33 ‘Lakeland Explorer’ service which operates daily throughout the summer season. The service will start and end each day in Penrith, where the Solo will be based, and connects Keswick, Ambleside and Coniston with Ravenglass on the west coast where the famous narrow gauge railway is located.
Transport Manager of the family run firm, Michael Holmes, says that it’s a route that includes several tortuous sections of narrow Lakeland roads. “The slightly narrower width of this Solo SR will suit these conditions better than a full width bus,” he says. “Outside of the tourist season we will be using the bus on our local services and private work in the Penrith area.
“As with our earlier Solos, we’ve again specified ‘E’ leather seats to give our passengers a bit more comfort,” he adds. “There are 31 fixed Rescroft CT Lite seats which are fitted with 3-point seat belts for added safety and three tip-ups in the wheelchair/buggy bay.”
Power for the bus is from a Euro 5 compliant Mercedes-Benz OM 904LA engine delivering 154 bhp (115 kW) at 2200 rpm. This is matched to an Allison 2100 Series five-speed automatic transmission featuring a lock-up torque converter for increased fuel efficiency, which is also enhanced by an electro-magnetic retarder automatically activated when braking.
Other features include Mobitec LED destination equipment and a reversing camera and monitor, the latter being a standard feature on Alba Travel’s vehicles.
“We’re delighted to be again supplying Alba Travel with our Solo SR model following good experience with those we supplied in 2010,” says Optare Sales Director, John Horn.
“This attractively styled and compact bus – and particularly the narrower SlimLine version – is well suited to the type of services that this highly-regarded family firm runs in Cumbria, where roads can be quite narrow and traffic heavy during the summer months. Its easy access also makes it ideal for use by people of all levels of mobility.”