Quality Line, the bus operating division of Epsom Coaches Group, has just put eight Optare Solo SRs into service that are the first two door versions of this model in the UK.
The company is using the buses on TfL route 470, which connects Epsom with Colliers Wood via Cheam and for which the company has recently had its contract extended by a further five years. Increasing passenger numbers on the route led to the decision both to increase the size of buses used and to specify two doors to speed access and exit.
Epsom’s Managing Director Steve Whiteway commented: “We are a big fan of the Optare Solo and the SR styling has resulted in a bus that really gets noticed. Coupled with dual door access, this is a small bus with big capacity and one that is already proving very popular with our drivers and passengers alike.
“The excellent fuel consumption and our experience over the last ten years of Optare products has shown that whole life costs and durability are the best in their class. We look forward to more of the same with these impressive additions to our fleet.”
The 9.7 metre Solo SRs have a seating capacity of 25 plus up to 25 standees. Esteban Civic V2 seats have been specified with those at the rear of the low floor area being Civic V3s. Mobitec Smartblind LED destination equipment is fitted.
Power is provided by the Mercedes-Benz OM904LA Euro 5 engine, which delivers 115 kW (154 bhp) and 610 Nm of torque. The is matched to a five-speed Allison 2100 series fully-automatic transmission with lock-up torque convertor for improved fuel efficiency.
John Horn, Optare Sales Director, said: “I’m very pleased that it is the good performance, passenger appeal and fuel efficiency of our Solo range that has led directly to Epsom choosing the SR model for this route.
These buses, which are the first two-door versions of the Solo SR in the UK, look great and I believe that they will prove themselves well on this demanding route.”