12 November 2012
With the first Solo SRs from an order for 190 about to enter service in Cape Town, Optare, along with its partner Busmark 2000, has launched the model to the wider South African market.
At a launch event in Cape Town on 7th November, Busmark also announced plans to expand its presence in the Western Cape by developing an integrated manufacturing business park in Cape Town. At the heart of this will be a new bus assembly plant which will act as a hub for smaller companies producing components both for the plant and for export.
Speaking at the event, Optare CEO Jim Sumner said that he was delighted that they were working with such a progressive and ambitious company. “Busmark is an excellent partner for Optare because we share the same vision to develop innovative solutions to public transport needs with class-leading products like the Solo SR.
“Following delivery of a demonstration Solo SR in February 2011, Busmark went on to win a contract for 190 from the City of Cape Town to be built locally from kits prepared in our Yorkshire plant. Their progress has been impressive and to date they have built over 80 buses, of which the first 30 will enter service next month as planned.
“The launch of the model to bus operators and public transport authorities across South Africa augurs well for further sales as other cities see the success of Cape Town’s Bus Rapid Transport system. This version of the Solo SR has been developed especially for this sophisticated network, which makes extensive use of new technologies and which will itself need more buses as it is progressively expanded. Both Optare and Busmark are hopeful of securing further significant tranches of business as a result.”
In a keynote speech, Councillor Brett Herron, Mayoral Committee Member for Transport on Cape Town City Council, congratulated Optare and Busmark on the launch of the Solo SR in South Africa.
Councillor Brett said: “It seems to me that your decision to assemble the Solo here in Cape Town and ultimately to grow an integrated manufacturing business premised on the initial contract awarded to you by the City of Cape Town, is evidence of great foresight and an acute understanding of the opportunities that exist in Cape Town, in South Africa and in the world, within the public transport sector.
“Within the coming weeks Cape Town will begin to see the 9m Optare Solo bus operating on the MyCiTi feeder routes. From the moment I first saw the prototype, nearly a year ago; I have eagerly awaited the sight of the Optare Solo, branded MyCiTi, on the roads.
“I firmly believe that this little bus will be a major contributor to growing our public transport market. It hits all the right design and operating requirements to express what we are trying to communicate – that the new order of public transport in Cape Town is efficient, safe, desirable, modern and dignified and that we expect people to move from private car to public transport and to use this bus and the new network.
“I am confident that the Optare Solo will assist us to grow public affection and affinity for public transport and the MyCiTi brand.”