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Krystian Canew appointed as Regional Sales Manager for Eastern Europe

Optare is delighted to announce the appointment of Krystian Canew to the position of Regional Sales Manager for Eastern Europe, from 19th October 2020. Krystian has gained experience at Solaris and latterly in LCV sales via the Mercedes Benz network.

Krystian said “I am delighted to be joining Optare. I have a passion for carbon free transport and look forward to bringing the Optare portfolio to Eastern Europe.”

Robert Drewery, Commercial Director, said “As a first step in our European growth strategy, we welcome Krystian to the team. Krystian’s experience will help us build long-term partnerships with operators in Eastern Europe and will be a key member of our team in the region”

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Stephen Walsh appointed as Customer Services Manager

Optare announces the appointment of Stephen Walsh to the position of Regional Sales Manager for Scotland & East of England, from 14th September 2020. Stephen joins Optare from Eminox Ltd where he spent over a decade with his most recent role in the Service and Aftersales department. Stephen brings a wealth of bus knowledge having been the project manager of a supply and retrofit buses program up to Euro 6.

Stephen said “I am delighted to be joining Optare. I look forward to bringing one of the best bus portfolios on the market to operators across my region.”

Robert Drewery, Commercial Director, “We welcome Stephen to the team. His experience and understanding of the importance of long-term support for our operator partners will be instrumental in his success.”

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Dr Andrew Palmer CMG joins Optare board as Non-Exec Chairman

After more than a decade of association with Optare Plc, John Fickling is stepping down as Chairman due to personal reasons. In his place, Optare is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr Andrew Palmer as Non-executive Chairman.

Commenting on the developments, Dheeraj Hinduja, Chairman of the parent company Ashok Leyland observed

John has played an anchor role in the stability of Optare during crucial periods as Chairman of the Board. I would like to thank him for his support and guidance in the last 10 years and wish him the very best in his future endeavours. The next phase of Optare’s growth is centred on expanding our electric vehicles business in the UK and many new markets. To help guide in our mission to become a global leader in this segment, I am happy to announce that Dr Andrew Palmer will be taking the position of Non-Executive Chairman.  With his impressive wealth of experience and innovative approach, I am confident that under Andy’s Chairmanship we will see Optare moving to a higher growth trajectory soon.

John Fickling added

I am delighted that Andy is joining Optare as non-executive Chairman.  He has all the skills required to build Optare into a global leader in alternate propulsion.  I am very proud of my association with the company thus far and am happy that it is now in the safest of hands.

Dr Palmer is a world-renowned automotive leader, having led transformations at two of the global vehicle brands, Nissan and Aston Martin.  This role builds on Dr Palmer’s established relationship with Optare’s parent, Ashok Leyland, where he has been a non-executive member of the Board since 2015.

Dr Palmer commented 

I am excited to be joining Optare at a pivotal moment in its development.   We have ambitious plans to leverage the company’s technological leadership in building a global zero emissions solution platform that will bring long-term value to all stakeholders.

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Optare response to Covid-19 Pandemic

Many of you will be aware that earlier this week the UK Prime Minister briefed the nation on new measures to protect its citizens and combat the spread of the corona virus. These new measures limit the movement of individuals outside of their homes to essential purposes only. Whilst work is included in essential purposes, it is limited to key workers involved in providing essential services.

As a result of the implementation of new measures in the UK, changes in supply of key components, such as engines, and the suspension in UK of Government of vehicles for 3 months we have taken the difficult decision to:

  • Temporarily suspend production
  • Furlough or move to homeworking until further notice
  • Temporarily limit & prioritise aftersales service

We have agreed an initial 4 week “lock down” period with a continual review of HM Government advice and the status of our employees, customers, vendors and the virus.

Parts supply and the Call Centre operation will continue until such time we don’t have the staff to carry out this function safely as a result of COVID-19 . We will make every effort to deliver on service and parts orders and will communicate proactively where issues do arise. We will keep you advised of any changes to this policy as it arises and our proposed return to normal operation.

We look forward to the end of the pandemic and a return to full production. We will you, your families and your teams all our best wishes at this challenging time.

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Optare Solos Enter Feeder Service With RTA in Dubai

Optare, one of the UK’s largest bus manufacturers, is thrilled to celebrate the launch of its Solo into feeder service in Dubai with the Road & Traffic Authority (RTA).

 The RTA Solo is a new derivative of Optare’s ground breaking midi-bus.  This 8.5m variant has been developed in partnership with the RTA to provide a nimble fuel efficient feeder vehicle that can gain access to areas not open to larger buses.  The first of its kind in the region.  This innovative wheel forward vehicle can carry up to 32 passengers in a bespoke configuration on a compact low floor, fully accessible platform .

 Optare have designed and built the RTA Solo at its facility in Sherburn, near Leeds in the UK.  The RTA’s specification includes many new and state-of-the-art features such as Geo-fenced saloon air conditioning, colour destinations, real time passenger information and telematics.  The Optare team subjected a specially built prototype vehicle to rigorous climate testing to ensure that passengers travel in air conditioned comfort and the bus delivers world class performance in ambient temperatures beyond those experienced in even the hottest Dubai summers.

 “I am proud to see this exciting project reach a successful conclusion.  The RTA Solo presented the business with many new technical challenges.  We have bettered these challenges.  I believe the Solo will provide the RTA with a powerful tool in growing patronage in Dubai and Optare an opportunity for further growth in the region.”

Richard Butler, Chief Executive Officer, Optare

“The delivery of the new batch of buses is part of RTA’s masterplan to improve public transport in Dubai and keep pace with the top international standards. Our objective is to deliver best-in-class services to public transport commuters and match the sustained growth in the number of riders. 

 HE Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of Roads and Transport Authority

 The new buses will be deployed on 17 routes: 8 existing routes and 9 new routes highlighted by metro link buses routes, low-demand routes, and routes serving residential areas which do not require the operation of large buses. The new buses will serve new districts and widen the geographical coverage of public transport in Dubai, increase the occupancy rate, and enhance multi-modal integration.”

The step is also aligned with RTA’s efforts to make public transport the ideal choice of mobility in Dubai, and raise the percentage of public transport journeys to 26% by 2030, which requires providing public transport options characterised affordable, high performance and comprehensive coverage.

 Swaidan Al Naboodah have partnered with Optare in Dubai to launch the Solo into service and provide 24/7 operational support.  Al Naboodah is a long established partner of both the RTA and Ashok Leyland, Optare’s parent. 

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Optare buses as a force for good at ALBUM 2019

This year’s ALBUM Conference theme is ‘The bus as a force for good’, and Optare will be exhibiting their Metrocity xFE which delivers up to a 7% fuel savings when compared to a standard Euro 6. The manufacturer famed for its innovation, efficiency and sustainability builds its vehicles using a space frame construction rather than a body on chassis design and incorporates the latest technologies to minimise weight and maximise fuel efficiency or electric vehicle range.

The interior of the Metrocity xFE is finished to a high standard with leather quilted seating, built in USB chargers, coordinated wood effect flooring, and hand poles and skylights to create a light and comfortable interior. This high specification interior is designed to aid operators in their campaign to encourage passengers to make the choice of bus rather than car or taxi and help improve air quality and congestion in our towns and cities.

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Flagship Sunderland bus link gets a makeover with new Optare Solos

A flagship Sunderland bus route that links the city’s main visitor attractions is to get new buses and a new colour scheme that celebrates the city’s heritage.

The Sunderland Connect service, 700, has three new low emission buses – with the iconic Wearmouth Bridge on the side as part of a new look for the popular city centre service.

Go North East, the bus company which operates Sunderland Connect, has invested in new Optare Solo buses which are fitted with the very latest low emission engines.

Each bus is equipped with audio and visual announcements and is liveried to reflect the strong connection between the service and Sunderland’s heritage.

The Sunderland Connect service 700 is paid for and operated through a partnership between Sunderland City Council, Nexus and the University of Sunderland.

“Sunderland Connect provides a vital link across to all of the visitor destinations and attractions that the city has to offer, and passengers can now look forward to three brand new buses on the route.

“This investment will help us to build on the success of Sunderland Connect, which is an affordable and convenient bus service that is popular with shoppers, visitors and students.”

Mike Scott, Head of Bus Services at Nexus

“This latest investment in the Sunderland Connect Service will help improve the service still further, and hopefully attract even more regular passengers in the future.

“The 700 provides people with an accessible, affordable and convenient way of travelling to and through the city centre, to some very popular destinations.

“The joint funding of the 700 with our partners at Nexus and the University of Sunderland is also another demonstration of this city’s commitment to promoting public transport, and working together to reduce traffic congestion and carbon emissions.”

Councillor Amy Wilson, Sunderland City Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport

“The Sunderland Connect 700 service provides a vital link for many of our students between The Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s and the City Centre Campus. As a University we are committed to minimising our environmental impact, by adopting sustainable practices throughout our business. We are delighted that the low emission engines fitted in the new Optare Solo buses will help us achieve the objectives set out in our Environmental Strategy.”

Mike Foster, Estates Project Manager at the University of Sunderland

“We are delighted that Go North East have chosen to add more low carbon Euro 6 Optare buses to their fleet as part of their commitment to improve air quality across the North East.”

Allan Kennedy, Sales Director of UK bus manufacturer Optare

Sunderland Connect, which was launched in 2011, is the main route that links the attractions in Sunderland, including the Empire Theatre, the Stadium of Light, the Aquatic Centre, the National Glass Centre and the Museum and Winter Gardens.

As well as visiting the main University campuses the service visits several points of interest and utility on its journey around the City, including Sunderland Hospital, Park lane Interchange, the renowned Wearmouth twin bridges, the Stadium of Light,

Sunderland Aquatic Centre, the National Glass Centre, West Sunniside and the Winter gardens.

The 700 operates to all these locations every 15 minutes Monday to Saturday daytimes, and during the summer months the service also operates to Roker Beach. Several other destinations including local shops, leisure facilities and hotels are also directly accessible on the 700 bus.

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Nine slimline Optare Solos for First Bath

First West of England has taken delivery of nine new slimline Optare Solos. The new look Euro 6 buses were purchased as part of an initiative to improve air quality, reduce congestion and encourage more people to ditch the car and travel by bus around Bath.

The 8.5m, Euro 6, slimline Optare Solos seat 23, feature seat back USB charging points and will operate on Bath’s city services, where their size and layout makes them ideal to access the UNESCO World Heritage city’s many narrow and difficult streets.

“Slimline Solos have operated on these routes for many years and the slimline Solo’s capacity and compact nature make it ideal for navigating routes around Bath. These new look vehicles feature the latest Euro 6 clean diesel engine as part of our commitment to improve air quality around Bath and the new branding, design and features such as USB charging are designed to encourage people out of their cars and onto the bus, reducing congestion and improving air quality in Bath.”

James Freeman, Managing Director of First West of England

“The compact but high capacity nature of the slimline Solo make it perfect for navigating busy and narrow streets and we are delighted that First Bath have chosen this proven Optare bus once again.”

Robert Drewery, Commercial Director, Optare
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Optare celebrates award for export

Photograph credit: The York Press. Photograph caption, L to R: Jane Hanson, Head of Advertising, The Press & Alastair Munro, Engineering Director, Optare.

In the second award win of 2018, Optare was recognised for its export success at the York Press Business Awards. This award follows the delivery of 114 Metrocity buses to Tranzit Group in New Zealand in a deal worth £21m and an order for 94 Solo buses to Dubai to the Roads and Transport Authority in a deal valued at circa £18m.

“I am delighted that Optare has been recognised for its export success. Having a strong export component to the business in 2018 has helped to mitigate UK market challenges and provide opportunities to grow the business. We continue to build on our export success in Australasia and the Middle East and explore other regions where our lightweight buses provide a unique and commercially attractive offering to government agencies and established operators.”

Richard Butler, Chief Executive, Optare

Further awards recognition for Optare this year included the Metrodecker EV winning the CILT (Chartered Institute of Transport and Logistics) award for contribution to environment, the UK Bus Awards Silver Environment award and reaching the finals of the technology category for the UK transport awards in October.

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Optare Solo the bus of choice again for Yeomans

Yeomans of Hereford have recently taken delivery of three new Solos. The family run coach company has been serving Hereford & it’s County since the 1920’s.

9.2m Solos seat over 30 and two of the three are fitted with seatbelts. The new Solo purchases are part of a fleet upgrade programme and will serve routes around Hereford. Last year Yeomans also purchased four new Solos as part of this upgrade programme.

“We have always run Optare Solos on our routes around Hereford as their size, manoeuvrability and fuel efficiency make them perfect for our routes. We have run Optare Solos for a long time and have been very pleased with their performance and the aftermarket support Optare provide.”

Nigel Yeomans, Managing Director

“I am delighted Yeomans who are a longstanding customer of Optare have chosen the Solo once again.”

Steph Baker, Optare, Regional Sales Manager
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