Arriva NW new optare solos issues?

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33109

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Hi All,

Well at long ruddy last macclesfield have finally been given some new buses:D We've got some very shine 12 plate optare solos, but seems to be few probs with these from what i've gathered. Chatting to a driver the other night who says that turning circle on them is crap i.e. going left can get 3 full turns of the steering wheel before full lock but when going right it only turns 1 full rotation???

Seems like an oversight on optare's part here as now there's certain streets they can't serve now because of their turning circle, also no ticket bins which means the floor gets covered in used tickets/rubbish :roll:

Just curious whats peoples opinion on these plz?
 
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aformeruser

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What routes are Arriva using Solos on? Over recent years they had seemed to replace the smaller old Mercedes buses with larger buses that don't necessarily have more seats but have designated wheelchair bays. Then any routes which only got low loadings on they let go to finish up with other operators such as Baker Bus, Bowers (now High Peak) and GHA.

Surely Arriva could add bins to any bus for minimal costs? With some Solos being built for free town/city centre buses, maybe they thought as there were no tickets being issued then bins weren't needed as standard. After all on some buses the bin says 'Used tickets' not 'Dump any rubbish in here.'
 
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Skimble19

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Of course, Smartcards will come into play sooner or later - Wayfarer 200 machines are currently being fitted to Arriva buses which should allow this.. Could mean the near replacement of paper tickets soon. Perhaps Optare were a little over enthusiastic ;)
 

aformeruser

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I've noticed Arriva are to operate less services around Macclesfield starting from next month.

Route 1 will transfer to High Peak
Route 14 daytime journeys will also transfer to High Peak. Evening journeys will remain with Arriva - possibly ideal for Solos?

High Peak route 27 will become a commercial service with a reduced frequency. Currently it uses Cheshire East branded DARTs so they may finish up on one of the new High Peak services.
 

trentside

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Typical optare crap. Enough said.

Indeed - if you want to go one step better, convert them to run on bio-methane, not only will it make them even less reliable but it will increase their fuel consumption too. The Solo turning circle is quite notorious - there's a route near here that they'd be perfect for (loadings wise), were it not for a tight bend in one of the villages that requires a very maneuverable vehicle - so a Volvo Olympian usually does the job!
 

323235

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Macclesfield does seem to be having plenty of technical faults with the new Solos. I had the pleasure of boarding a Route 21 Solo (Hurdsfield Circular) only for it to fail before departure however luckily there was another I could get in one of the next bays.

I've had and seen the new Solo's on all the local Arriva routes in Macclesfield - 1,2,3,4,9,10,14,21. I would say that apart from the turning issue and other technical issues which I suspect will disappear with time, they are ideal replacements for the Dennis Darts on the circular routes round Macclesfield.

Perhaps keep them away from the Turners Arms in Bollington and they will be fine.
 

fgwrich

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:lol: And something else we agree on then!

Basingstokes history with Optare Solos has been quite odd - Courtney Buses first used them on the Centre Shuttle service, before ditching them several years ago for a pair of equally rubbish Enviro 200 Drats - Which literally seem to be falling apart, before bringing back 2/3 New optare solos for the same contract. However, i get the feeling that we could be in for another change, as one of the presumably evaluation Wright StreetLites occasionaly makes the odd appearance in Basingstoke too.
 

aformeruser

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Optare must be doing something right though as they seem to have got a lot of the market share for midi-buses off Mercedes.
 

34D

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Optare must be doing something right though as they seem to have got a lot of the market share for midi-buses off Mercedes.

Some strange comments in this thread.

I agree that the LH turning circle is marginally tighter than the RH - but certainly not three times better, just very slightly.

The vehicles on the hole are very capable buses, easily capable of 60mph, and I find them very very manoeuvrable. From an engineering point of view they are easy enough to work on, and optare usually offer a 3 year warranty so I understand. The fuel economy is excellent too.

Having driven the solo (both original and later SR), the primo and the streetlite, as well as various models of merc vario/earlier) I would say that optare have got it right.

Incidently, I'm looking to purchase a cheap solo, either one of the early R S or T reg ones, or a later one that needs work, if anyone knows of any for sale/parked up withdrawn then please do PM me.
 

33109

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I'd agree with some of the comments but in some respects the 12/13 year old darts they replaced are running better & more reliable than the solos:lol:

Seems as thou high peak are picking up a load of work in the macc/cheshire area now, also slightly off topic here but i've noticed with the plaxton centros they really struggle to start sometimes due to air pressure or other probs?????? Had 1 other week sitting in northwich centre & the driver sat for 5 mins trying to start it with no joy so eventually it was replaced with a dart;):lol:
 

aformeruser

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Seems as thou high peak are picking up a load of work in the macc/cheshire area now

I find it strange that the new 27 timetable seems to utilise just a single bus all day. With a Solo being sent empty to Knutsford to run the 300 service and being sent back empty at around 17:40 I don't know why they haven't planned to use it as a limited stop Macclesfield-Knutsford working in the morning and a Knutsford-Macclesfield working in the evening to fill some of the long gaps between services at peak times.

Had 1 other week sitting in northwich centre & the driver sat for 5 mins trying to start it with no joy so eventually it was replaced with a dart

High Peak have done the reverse on occasions when one of the 03 reg Cheshire Connect DARTs have failed, so it happens both ways.
 

185

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Quite annoying as some of the bigger Optare vehicles are brilliant, the Solo is just the black/deformed/dead sheep of the family.

The Optare / MCW Metrorider it replaced was a smashing bus.... Old K/L regs were proper nippy and handled really well on the wild streets of Wirral.
 

anthony263

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Quite annoying as some of the bigger Optare vehicles are brilliant, the Solo is just the black/deformed/dead sheep of the family.

The Optare / MCW Metrorider it replaced was a smashing bus.... Old K/L regs were proper nippy and handled really well on the wild streets of Wirral.

Yes I still love the old metroriders shame I never really got much of a chance to drive one
 

34D

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I find it strange that the new 27 timetable seems to utilise just a single bus all day. With a Solo being sent empty to Knutsford to run the 300 service and being sent back empty at around 17:40 I don't know why they haven't planned to use it as a limited stop Macclesfield-Knutsford working in the morning and a Knutsford-Macclesfield working in the evening to fill some of the long gaps between services at peak times.

Agree fully - if is very frustrating when operators run dead when for minimal extra effort they could run in service.
 

fgwrich

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Quite annoying as some of the bigger Optare vehicles are brilliant, the Solo is just the black/deformed/dead sheep of the family.

The Optare / MCW Metrorider it replaced was a smashing bus.... Old K/L regs were proper nippy and handled really well on the wild streets of Wirral.

I always used to love the Spectras - If anything, i think they set the benchmark for all modern Double Deckers, unfortunatly ive always felt Optare went downhill from there on - with so many design changes and a feel of lowering quality, likewise with and when East Lancs / Darwen Group takeover happend - The ditching of the entire East Lancs range for example, why ditch the deckers when Optare dosent have one of its own, and since the disastrous RAPTA and New Solo R +, optare just seems to me as abit of an all over the place company, lacking the enthusiasm and daringness of other companies such as Wrights. Hopefully the Ashok Leyland venture might bring some new results though, but i wish they'd reduce these bizzare bulbous design introduced on the Versa.

And if anyone hasnt seen the monster that was the Rapta: http://omnibuses.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/optare.html
 
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aformeruser

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Seems as thou high peak are picking up a load of work in the macc/cheshire area now

I'd missed that they lost the Macclesfield-Prestbury route to GHA Coaches recently. The Connect 19 Macclesfield-Prestbury livered bus appeared on the 300 Knutsford Circular route a couple of weeks back which I thought was a bit strange, now I know it doesn't have it a 'home route' any more.
 
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