The first of 190 Optare Solo SR’s destined for a ground-breaking feeder services in Cape Town rolled out of the plant of Optare’s South African partner, Busmark, this week. Assembled from a CKD kit of components, the new bus is the first of 30 scheduled for delivery before the end of June 2012.
The new fleet of advanced, low floor buses will play key role in a new integrated bus transit system being introduced by the City of Cape Town Council and which forms part of its ‘MyCiTi’ initiative. The innovative Solo SR’s, which incorporate doors on both sides for quick boarding and exit, will collect passengers from outlying townships and take them to transfer points where they will board 12 or 18 metre buses for high speed transport to various destinations in the city.
The 9.5 metre version of the Solo SR integral midibus features full air conditioning and is fitted with a real time monitoring and tracking system, CCTV and telematics. Busmark has opened a new factory in Cape Town to produce the buses and its labour force there has been trained with the help of Optare personnel both in Leeds and on the ground. Completion of the Busmark vehicle has demonstrated that both parties can work well together, underlining the close relationship they will have as the full contracted volume of vehicles is delivered.
Glenn Saint, Optare’s Chief Technical Officer, in Cape Town for the handover ceremony, commented: “This is a flagship vehicle in more ways than one. Not only is this Optare’s largest ever export order but it’s the first time the Solo has been delivered in CKD form. It is a signpost to our future export growth, since we will be exploiting our competitive product offering in a number of major markets where we already have firm inquiries.”
The first Optare Solo SR assembled in South Africa leaves the Busmark plant in Cape Town.
The scene at this week’s handover. Left to right (front row): Councillors Melissa Whitehead and Brett Herron of Cape Town City Council; Herman Stroud, Operations Director and Charles Collins, CEO, of Busmark; and Optare’s CTO Glenn Saint.