Perryman’s Buses, the fastest-growing independent operator in the North East of England, has chosen Optare’s Versa model to fulfill what is the largest single order ever placed by the family-run firm.
The order is for 12 of the low-weight 11.7 metre model, all of which are additional to the fleet and when delivered this summer, they will double the number of Optare vehicles run by the Berwick-upon-Tweed based company. The vehicles will be used on new contracts awarded by the Scottish Borders Council to serve communities in the Central Borders area towards Edinburgh and in Northumberland.
General Manager Roddy Perryman says that the choice of the 11.7 metre Versa came down to three things: stylish appearance, fuel economy, and first-class back-up.
“This represents a major investment for us and we had to get it right,“ he says. “We carried out a thorough analysis of all the options for a bus of this size and involved our engineering manager very closely in the process. Optare ticked all the boxes in terms of passenger and driver appeal, reliability and durability, good service support and, in particular, excellent and proven fuel economy.“
Optare Sales Director, John Horn, said: “We are very pleased that following an appraisal of the market, and based on good experience with other Optare products, Perryman’s has chosen our Versa model for this, the largest order ever placed by this award-winning operator. And I’m particularly pleased that it was not only the design and build quality of our product that they took into account, but also the after-sales support that we deliver to them every day.“
In line with other Optare products in their fleet, Perryman’s have again chosen the six-cylinder Cummins ISBe engine rated at 201 bhp (150kW) to power their new Versas. “At this power output the engine has plenty in reserve to cope with some of the hilly terrain on the cross-border routes on which these buses will be used, without compromising on fuel consumption,“ explains Mr Perryman.
The engine is matched to a five-speed Allison automatic transmission that features a lock-up torque converter for improved fuel effeciency. A Klam electro-magnetic retarder automatically actuated through the brake pedal is also fitted as standard providing smoother retardation and contributing to reduced fuel consumption and brake wear.
A major factor in optimising fuel effeciency is the Optare EcoDrive dashboard, a standard feature on all Optare products that monitors how the bus is being driven and provides real-time feedback to the driver to encourage improved driving habits.
Perryman’s now has almost two years experience of this feature as it’s fitted in four Solo SR models it put on the road in mid 2011. “There is no doubt that it assists drivers to adopt a safter, more economical driving style,“ says Roddy Perryman.
To provide a degree of versatility in how the Versas can be used, Perryman’s has opted for two types of seating. Eight of the buses will have Esteban Civic V3 seats and the other four will be fitted with Rescroft seats with three-point seatbelts, enabling them to be used both on regular services and school contract runs.
A Timespace V400 8 camera CCTV system will be fitted and the vehicles will also have a Mobitec ’Next Stop’ audio announcement linked to an interior LED display.