From 1st January 2015 all buses operating on registered routes open to the public up to 7.5 tonnes were required to be DDA compliant.
The requirements include vehicles to provide provision for the following:
• Wheelchair access ramp
• Wheelchair space with restraint
• Priority seats for passengers
• Space for guide dogs
• Handrails to assist disabled people
• Compliant step heights
Established coach operator Coachstyle has been running seven, 7.9m long 2.33m wide Optare Solos since April 2014. The vehicles are fully DDA compliant and seat up to 27 with space for 9 standing. Cotswold-based Coachstyle purchased its fleet of seven new Optare Solo SER buses last year, after it won new contracts to provide scheduled bus services in and around Malmesbury.
Andrew Jones, Owner, Coachstyle, said: “The Solo’s low entry floor and front axle forward of the door design allows for easy access to a fully flat lower saloon area, making these buses easily accessible for all and fully compliant with the DDA regulations. Not only does the Solo have excellent capacity the slim design means it is also ideal for navigating the service routes around Malmesbury.”
The Optare Solos serve scheduled local authority routes from Malmesbury to Circencester, Swindon, Yate and Chippenham, each covering on average 80,000 miles per annum.
Andrew added, “Purchasing new vehicles is a huge investment and we are more than happy with the support and service Optare have been able to provide. The fleet not only looks great with the distinctive Solo styling but we are also extremely pleased with the fuel economies the vehicles are delivering. I would certainly recommend these vehicles.”
Tim Matthews, Head of Sales at Optare said, “These vehicles are a more fuel efficient, cost effective and environmentally friendly option for operators needing to replace older vehicles such as Mercedes-Benz Beaver models and Dennis Darts which are no longer DDA compliant.”
The slim design, excellent capacity of these vehicles and the low entry, easy access fully flat lower saloon area provide great flexibility for the application of these vehicles. Our customers use these vehicles for a range of purposes including urban, interurban, airport and school bus applications.”