Optare has won its first order for its Metrodecker, for five Euro 6 diesel version for Reading Buses Green Line 702 route between London and Windsor.
Due for delivery in June 2019, they will make the route compliant with the forthcoming London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).
Optare is modifying the design to enable three-point seatbelts – a Reading Buses requirement – to be fitted, along with a host of other operator-specific specifications.
The Metrodecker is also available as a battery-electric, and Optare is hopeful of success in forthcoming tender rounds and London moves to zero-emission buses.
Optare and Reading Buses have worked together to develop a bespoke high specification Metrodecker. They will have 70 coach-style high backed seats with comfy headrests, use high quality interior fittings including wood-effect flooring, at-seat USB ports, mobile phone holders, seat back tables and 4G Wi-Fi.
Reading Buses CEO Martijn Gilbert says: “We returned to buying Optares after a long break, at the end of 2016, with four Solo’s for the prestigious Vodafone contract at Newbury. The operation of those vehicles has proved very successful.”
Reading Buses Head of Engineering and Innovation John Bickerton adds: “The order follows us first evaluating the Metrodecker with a pre-production demonstrator.
“Two years ago, we put it through its paces for its first-ever in service ‘shakedown’ trial. What is most impressive is that two years on the demonstrator vehicle currently in service with us is still giving great performance, class-leading fuel economy, demonstrating a very robust build quality and is getting great feedback from drivers and customers.”
“With Optare’s recent further investment in after-sales support, and a can-do attitude in working to meet our bespoke specification, the Metrodecker is clearly the bus for us.”
Robert Drewery, Commercial Director, said, “We are delighted to have the opportunity to expand our partnership with such an innovative operator as Reading Buses. We relish the challenge and opportunity to work with the Reading team in stretching the boundaries of bus specification on our first ever Metrodecker Euro 6 order.”
Graham Belgum, Optare president said, “This order is fantastic news for Optare and I am confident that after all the positive feedback we have had from operators, drivers and passengers alike about the Metrodecker Euro 6 and EV demonstrators performance that this order will be the first of many.”