Significant savings in operating costs are expected to be made from an 11.7 metre Optare Versa that has just joined the fleet of New Zealand operator, Reesby Buses.
According to owner Dave Reesby this is because of the low weight of the model, which has been proven to return class leading fuel efficiency and also particularly suits the New Zealand road tax regime.
“With a gross weight of only 12 tonnes for a 44 seater city bus, compared with around 14 tonnes for all other makes operating in the country, the 11.7 metre Versa attracts a saving of 13 cents per kilometre in Government imposed road user charges,” he explains.
“We’re currently evaluating the performance and operating costs of the Versa by using it on transfers of conference delegates in and around Rotorua on New Zealand’s North Island, which is a major conference centre and also the location of our main base,” he adds.
“Shortly it will be going on to a rural service between Katikati and Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty involving a one way trip of 60 kilometres, which it will make six times a day, so the 13 cents per kilometre savings will soon add up!
“It will replace a 10.4 metre Versa on the route. The Versa, of which we already have two, has had great acceptance from the public leading to increased passenger numbers and a need for more capacity. ”
The remarkably low unladen weight of the 11.7 metre Versa, at just 7,820kg, also contributes to the exceptional fuel efficiency of the model. Reesby Buses have opted for the six-cylinder Cummins ISBe engine to cope more easily with the hilly terrain in which it will run without compromising fuel economy.
This 6.7 litre Euro 5 engine delivers 201 bhp (150 kW) at 2300 rpm and 750 Nm of torque and is matched to an Allison five-speed automatic transmission with lock-up convertor for increased fuel efficiency. An electro-magnetic retarder, automatically activated through the brake pedal, provides additional braking inputs on descents, which helps both to reduce wear on the service brakes and improve fuel consumption.
The new bus has seating for 44 passengers on Esteban Civic V3 seats, including three tip-ups in the wheelchair/buggy space. The seats are leather trimmed and have headrests in two-tone blue. A further 17 standing passengers can also be carried, resulting in an impressive overall capacity of 61.
Mobitec LED destination equipment has been specified to the front side and rear, and the exterior is finished in a classy metallic silver and blue paint scheme.
Editors Note: Reesby Buses was formed by Dave Reesby in the early 1970s on the basis of contracts to transport children to school and workers to a large hydro-electric construction project. Today the company specialises in national, urban and tourism transport and is five star rated under the New Zealand Transport Agency rating system. It operates from headquarters in Rotorua and depots in Auckland and Christchurch.