Optare has completed its 10,000th bus since the company was formed in 1985, which is heading for a life on the island of Jersey. The Solo SR is one of a fleet of 33 to be operated on Jersey by CT Plus.
Jim Sumner, Optare CEO, said: “I am delighted that we have reached this significant production milestone and that we have done it here in our new plant at Sherburn-in-Elmet.
“This superb new facility offers the potential to build buses at rates that are unprecedented in Optare’s past and as a result I expect it will take considerably less time to build the next 10,000!
“As evidenced by winning this order from the HCT Group for 33 vehicles, we are now geared up to build buses in larger fleet numbers whilst still retaining the flexibility to meet the needs of our traditional independent sector customers.
“We now have vehicles operating in 14 countries worldwide, with our growing export business also adding to the volumes. Last week we launched the Solo SR into the important South African market, where we are already supplying 190 Solo SRs in kit form from our Sherburn plant. I returned from the launch event feeling confident that it will lead to further export business both in that market and surrounding markets as demand for public transport continues to grow worldwide.
“Our strategic alliance with Ashok Leyland – one of the world’s largest bus makers – will be key to driving this export growth. They are already supporting us on a number of major tenders.”
The 10,000th bus is a 2.35 metre wide Slimline version of the Solo SR. At 9.7 metres in length, it is equipped with Lazzerini 3840 Pratico seating and features Actia CCTV and Mobitec destination equipment.
Optare's Sales Director John Horn comments: “I am delighted that the 10,000th Optare bus built is to enter service with HCT Group, parent company to CT Plus. They are the UK’s leading social enterprise operator in the public transport field.
“The Solo SR has again proved to be a real winner and has given Optare an unrivalled lead in the midibus sector of the UK market. All 33 buses have been completed on schedule and will carry Jersey registrations with into service dates commencing in January.”