Bus manufacturer wins £21m NZ order

The Metrocity, one of five types of state-of-the-art bus made by Optare. (S)

A UK bus manufacturer based at Sherburn-in-Elmet has secured a £21m order to supply buses to one of New Zealand’s biggest public transport operators.

Optare said the deal was one of the biggest in the history of the business, with the first of the Metrocity vehicles due to be delivered in March 2018.

Graham Belgum, president of Optare, said: “This is a significant step for Optare as part of our international export strategy and signals the exciting growth opportunities available to us in Australasia.

“Further, it recognises our continued innovation in lightweight products that use fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly technologies.”

Optare, which is a subsidiary of India-based Ashok Leyland, employs around 300 workers at its assembly site south of Tadcaster.

The agreement will see Optare, a subsidiary of India-based Ashok Leyland, provide 114 innovative and environmentally efficient Metrocity buses to the New Zealand capital, Wellington. The first ones are set to be delivered in March 2018 and the entire order is due to be fulfilled by July 2018.

Paul Snelgrove, managing director of customer Tranzit Group, led a team around the world in search of the right buses for New Zealand roads.

“The 10.1m Metrocity, with a shorter wheelbase, is ideal for travelling through some of Wellington’s narrow streets and hilly terrain,” he said.

“Overall, we were impressed with Optare’s approach and willingness to work in partnership; it was a no-brainer decision for us.”

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