Management & Operations

Optare Rolls Out Alero, Small Bus Targeted at Growing U.K. Disabilities, Smaller City Markets

Posted on September 14, 2000

The Optare Group unveiled its new Alero small bus at a special launch ceremony held at the NEC in Birmingham, U.K. last month. The bus was specifically designed for rural and community market segments, particularly for dial-a-ride services, which are expected to grow rapidly in the wake of Britain’s new disability rights legislation. Principal features of the Alero include:

  • 16-passenger capability, in any combination of seats and wheelchairs, plus driver and courier
  • Ultra-low floor height, with an entry step height when kneeling of just 180 mm (7 in.)
  • Roll-on wheelchair access via on-board ramps
  • Fully programmed air-conditioned, electronic climate control
  • Excellent ride and handling
  • Safety features including rollover protection, ABS brakes and seat belts
  • One-piece color-impregnated composite body for long life and more attractive, “MPV-like” styling
  • Heavy-duty drivetrain including 122 hp, 2.8 liter Iveco 4-cylinder turbo diesel engine meeting Euro 3 emissions standards; ZF 6-speed manual gearbox (with automatic available as an option); Albion/RVI rear-drive axle; Meritor beam front axle with medium-duty independent front suspension; front and rear disc brakes; and full air suspension. “The Alero truly is a revolutionary product; revolutionary in its choice of components and materials and in its packaging of them to offer an ultra low floor bus at an affordable price,” said Russell Richardson, managing director of the Optare Group, at the launch ceremony. “It will revolutionize transport and mobility for some of the most disadvantaged passengers in our society, and it will carry the Optare Group a significant step further along the road to producing 1,000 vehicles a year.” Optare is now owned by North American Bus Industries Inc., of Anniston, Ala. Richardson said he began looking at a new model targeted at these markets as soon as it became apparent that the U.K. government would enact the Disability Discrimination Act. This law will accelerate the replacement rates for buses and coaches in the U.K. and in particular create a demand for low-floor midibuses that can accommodate wheelchairs, he added. Although other manufacturers are said to be developing smaller buses targeted at these segments, Alero appears to be the first such model. Optare will offer Alero in four different model variants, ranging from a simple seat layout in Model 1, to longer-distance local/rural service configuration (Model 2), dial-a-ride configuration (Model 3) to higher-ended product aimed at the transfer coach market (Model 4). Price has been set at between £50,000 and £55,000 (US $85,000-$94,000), depending upon customer specifications. The 7.2m (24 ft) long Alero has a gross vehicle weight of 6.1 tons. Following completion of a comprehensive prototype test program at the Millbrook (U.K.) proving ground, Optare says that pilot production should begin this winter, with full production out of the company’s Rotherham plant in the first half of 2001.
  • View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

    More News

    Cleveland RTA partners with medical group to rebrand key route

    Revenue from the MetroHealth Line sponsorship will be used to upgrade landscaping and bus stations along the route.

    Siemens names new mobility division president

    Marc Buncher brings 25 years of rail experience, including his most recent role as the sr. VP, rail division, at Caterpillar.

    Mont.'s Mountain Line to extend fare-free program

    Partner agencies have agreed to continue support for the program, which has bolstered ridership.

    Voith executes succession plan, names new president/CEO

    As planned, Dr. Hubert Lienhard, who has been in charge since 2008, will retire in 2018 upon completion of his second term in office at the age of 67, with Stephan Schaller assuming the role in April.

    Transportation options could lure Amazon to Denver, report says

    The New York Times recently published an analysis of roughly fifty American metro areas and used guidance that Amazon included in its request for proposals to narrow down the field.

    See More News

    Post a Comment

    Post Comment

    Comments (0)

    More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

    Automotive Fleet

    The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

    Business Fleet

    managing 10-50 company vehicles

    Fleet Financials

    Executive vehicle management

    Government Fleet

    managing public sector vehicles & equipment

    TruckingInfo.com

    THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

    Work Truck Magazine

    The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

    Schoolbus Fleet

    Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

    LCT Magazine

    Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

    Please sign in or register to .    Close