Yorkshire bus builder Optare is to provide 26 buses to operator Go North East following in a £3.5m investment.
Optare is to supply 14 of its new Versa models as well as 12 of its existing Solo SR vehicles for use on services in Tyne and Wear and County Durham.
Go North East said a key factor in its decision to order the 11.7 metre Versa was its successful operation during an extended trial of the model over a ten week period earlier this year.
It added it was particularly impressed with the level of fuel efficiency achieved in testing conditions, which included high passenger loadings and hills.
Chris Wise, commercial director at Optare, expressed his delight at the deal, now taking the number of vehicles delivered to Go North East to 90 in recent years.
“It’s particularly rewarding to win this business off the back of very extensive testing of the 11.7 metre Versa model in very demanding operating conditions and against a background of good experience not only from these trials but also from over two years of operating Versa and even longer with Solo.
“The exceptional fuel efficiency that the 11.7 metre Versa delivered during the trials is a direct result of the low weight of the bus, which unladen is just 7,820 kilos, and the Solo has long enjoyed a well deserved reputation for fuel economy.
“Combining the low weight of both models with good driveline matching and the use of our unique Optare Eco Drive dashboard makes both models the most economical buses of their size on the market.”
Versa deliveries will commence in October with the Solos set to follow in November.