The first 7.2 metre Optare Solo SR SlimLine model has entered service with West Yorkshire operator TLC travel on rural services around Keighley.
The 915-918 service operates circular routes seven days a week out of Keighley bus station serving local rural communities. This is a tendered service with the Metro ITA and parts of the route are hail and ride.
“These routes include numerous narrow country roads and this called for a more compact bus,” explains TLC Travel’s managing director, Trish Lambert.
“We were already familiar with the Solo product, of which we run over 20 and when the new SR version at 7.2 metres long and only 2.3 metres wide became available we felt that this would be ideal.
“The fact that it is a low floor bus and fully DDA compliant with a wheelchair ramp and bay was also an important factor in our choice, especially as many of our passengers are elderly with mobility problems or young mums with buggies.
“This bus represents a significant investment for us in the Keighley area, where we have only recently started to operate. We will be watching with interest how the Solo SR is received by our passengers and how it performs on these routes.”
The bus has a capacity of 23 seated on Ster 6MS seats and up to nine standees. A CCTV system is fitted along with Mobitec LED destination equipment.
Power is from the fuel efficient Mercedes-Benz OM904LA Euro five engine rated at 95kW and matched to an Allison 1000 Series five-speed automatic transmission. At just 5480 kgs, the low weight of the bus will also contribute to good performance on fuel.
Optare Sales Director John Horn says: “The 7.2 metre Solo SR SlimLine model is a good example of our ability to provide compact buses that meet the needs of independent operators like TLC for use on rural routes. It offers a good passenger carrying capacity and a comfortable travelling environment, and its compact size makes it easy to handle both on narrow country roads or in congested town centre traffic conditions.”