Leather seats and WiFi connectivity are part of the high quality specification of six Optare Solo SR midibuses that have just entered service in Crewe with independent operator D&G Bus.
Four of the buses are on the new ‘one1ink’ service that operates across the town connecting established employment sites, including Bentley Motors, with new industrial and retail developments and the town centre. This runs Monday to Saturday at a 15 minute frequency. Funding for the service was provided through the Department for Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund.
The other two are being used to upgrade standards on the existing D&G Bus number 8 route into Crewe from surrounding villages.
David Reeves, managing director of D&G Bus, said: “As part of our bid for the one1ink service we had to provide four new buses but took the opportunity to add a further two in order to upgrade our existing fleet. We chose the Optare Solo SR because of its stylish appearance and passenger appeal and because of the good experience we have had with its predecessor model, which accounts for over half of our now 52 strong Crewe based fleet.”
All six Solo SRs are the 9.7 metre model with a seating capacity of 31 on fixed Esteban Civic V3 seats plus four tip-ups in the wheelchair bay. Up to 21 standees can be carried to give the buses a total capacity of well over 50 to adequately meet anticipated peak demand on the new service.
Power is from the Euro 5 compliant Mercedes-Benz OM904LA engine delivering 154 bhp (115 kW) and which is renowned for its fuel efficiency and low emissions. This is matched to an Allison five-speed automatic transmission with a torque converter that also adds to fuel economy.
“This fits well with our aims of minimising the environmental impact of our operations,” says David Reeves. “We adhere to the GreenRoad principles and I’m very proud that three of our Crewe based drivers were recently awarded membership of the GreenRoad Fleet Elite™ programme in recognition of their contribution to safety and reduced C02 emissions.”
Optare sales director, John Horn, adds: “All of our products have impeccable green credentials that include class-leading fuel performance, which of course means lower emissions. The fitment as standard of our EcoDrive dashboard also helps drivers to monitor their performance and achieve improvements that both add to better fuel efficiency and improve passenger comfort and safety. I’m delighted that these features are exactly aligned with the aims of D&G Bus.”