Bus manufacturer Optare has given a custom built bus to London Transport Museum for the new All Aboard family play zone which opens to the public on 28 March. The Solo midi bus was suspended in mid-air before being loaded up into the upper deck of the All Aboard play area by a crew of lifting specialists from Allelys using a heavy duty fork lift.
The distinctive design of the Solo is a favourite with bus operators and passengers alike and now it will hold a firm place in the hearts and minds of young explorers visiting the Museum who will be able to sit in the driving seat and operate the indicators, change the bus blinds and check out the CCTV.
All Aboard has been designed especially for children aged 0 to 7 years and as well as being able to get in the driver’s seat of the Optare Solo they will be able to repair a mini Tube train and play in the ‘Lost Property’ office. They can enjoy ‘sailing’ the Thames Nipper, serve passengers in the Nipper café, fly the Emirates Air Line cable car, make driver announcements and help customers at the mini information desk. The singing stars of the future can also play musical instruments at the busking spot.
The Solo’s low entry floor combined with the front axle forward of the front door allows for easy access to a fully flat lower saloon area, meaning the vehicle is perfect for very young children to climb aboard.
Sam Mullins, Director of London Transport Museum, said “We are very grateful to Optare for transforming their latest Solo bus into a memorable interactive learning experience for our young visitors. The Optare bus will be a key attraction within our new All Aboard family play zone, and a heavily visited, and photographed feature for all our Museum visitors. The new play zone will encourage our youngest visitors to learn through imaginative and creative play, using role play and dressing up as they become a bus driver or mechanic, and learn about some of the essential jobs which enable the transport system to function.”
Enrico Vassallo, CEO of Optare, commented, “When the London Transport Museum told us how popular the previous Optare bus had been with the children in the gallery, we were only too pleased to supply a custom built version of our latest Solo model, which is available in both Euro 6 diesel and full electric for the next generation of young people to enjoy and learn about bus travel in the new purpose built gallery at the Museum.”
Special events for families take place at the Museum over Easter and during other school holidays. Visit www.ltmuseum.co.uk or call for 020 7565 7298 for more information.
The All Aboard family play zone opens on 28 March at London Transport Museum, Covent Garden Piazza, WC2E 7BB. www.ltmuseum.co.uk. The Museum opens daily. Kids go free and adult tickets allow unlimited entry for a whole year. The adult annual passes cost £16.00 (£13.50 concessions).