Optare Solo

50281/2/96 W312/3/27DWX

During the last week of August 2005 First Midland Red acquired a second hand Optare Solo in the shape of W327DWX from First Bradford. The vehicle which was a 27-seater was numerically the last of a batch of 21 Solo vehicles delivered new to First Bradford in 2000. The batch consists of 50276-96 (W307-27DWX). W327DWX entered service at Worcester with the service changes on 4th September 2005. The vehicle was repainted in April 2007 and during May 2007 moved to Hereford to provide cover whilst the Hereford allocated Solo vehicles are repainted. From the 6th June 2010 First Midland Red gained the routes 37, 37A, 423, 424 and 425 following retendering from Diamond Bus. As a result two further vehicles were transferred from First Bradford in the shape of 50281 and 50282 to Worcester  to cover the extra work gained from this date. All three vehicles remained in service until October 2014

Registration Number

Fleet Number

Vehicle Type

Seating Capacity

Date into Service

Current Allocation

Current Livery

W312DWX 50281 Optare Solo  M850

B27F

6th June 2010

Withdrawn 21st Oct 14 - Sold to First PMT 12/14 then to First Lanarkshire

Barbie3

W313DWX 50282 Optare Solo  M850

B27F

6th June 2010 Withdrawn  21st Oct 14 sold for scrap

Barbie3

W327DWX

53041

Optare Solo  M850 B27F 4th Sept 2005

Withdrawn 21st Oct 14 - Sold to First PMT 12/14

Barbie3

 

Livery Key :  Barbie 3 - is the new corporate Firstgroup livery for all vehicles which is a modified version of the original Barbie livery (The dates in brackets are when the vehicle was last repainted).

53040/1 VU02PKX & VU02PKY

In partnership with Herefordshire Council First Midland Red purchase two 22-seat Optare Solo low floor minibuses using funding from the Herefordshire Local Transport Plan and the Countryside Agency. The Council was working with bus operators in Herefordshire to provide funds for new low floor vehicles for subsidised services. This meant by the end of 2002 45% of all subsidised mileage in the County was being operated with low floor buses. The two vehicles purchased 1701 (now 53040) VU02PKX and 1702 (now 53041) VU02PKY were delivered to Worcester Garage in April 2002 and were painted in full First "Barbie" low floor livery.

Both vehicles had entered service Hereford depot by late April and were primarily used on the 110 & 111 services (now renumbered 76A and 76) between Bartonsham, the General Hospital and the City Centre, in the daytime, the 418 evening service and the Sunday only service 32/38 between Hereford and Gloucester. The two vehicles were unique within the First Group as they are only 22-seaters when normally the Optare Solo's purchased are 26-seaters.

Registration Number

Fleet Number

Old Fleet Number

Vehicle Type

Seating Capacity

Date into Service

Current Allocation

Current Livery

VU02PKX

53040

1701

Optare Solo

B22F

Apr-02

Withdrawn 14/3/15 and passed to First Cornwall

Barbie3 (4/07)

VU02PKY

53041

1702

Optare Solo

B22F

Apr-02

Withdrawn 5 Sept 15 on closure of Hereford depot

New Barbie (August 2014)

Livery Key :  Barbie 3 - is the new corporate Firstgroup livery for all vehicles which is a modified version of the original Barbie livery New Barbie is the latest corporate livery(The dates in brackets are when the vehicle was last repainted).

53042-51  VU03YJT-Z,VU03YKB-E

Working with First Midland Red and the local heath authority, Worcestershire County Council was successful in 2001 in obtaining "Urban Bus Challenge" money from the Department for Transport to improve the access to work and health opportunities within Worcester. This involved the introduction of a cross Worcester service from the Dines Green estate on the west side of the River Severn to the new Royal Hospital and Warndon estates on the east side. Originally, the Company planned to purchase 12 22-seater vehicles (similar to 53040 and 53041 at Hereford) however the order was altered to 10 26-seater vehicles together with a maximum of 25 standing passengers. The vehicles were plated to carry one wheelchair. The vehicles were originally due for delivery in January 2003 and were allocated 52 registration marks in the Severn Valley Registration District. As the vehicles were not delivered until after March 2003 they received 03 registration plates.

The first four of the vehicles arrived at Worcester Garage on Friday 28 March 2003. The vehicles were fitted with no less than four digital CCTV cameras with a colour LCD monitor in the drivers cab. Much of the preparation work of installing ticket machines and adding external vehicle branding was done at the Church Road Garage in Redditch. The vehicles entered service in Worcester on Tuesday 6th May 2003 following a launch of the new vehicles for the cross-city services 41/41A/43/43A between Dines Green and Warndon. After just over three years in service the vehicles suffered  from premature corrosion and this was treated under warranty to Optare. As part of the work the vehicles were given a repaint the then latest verrsion of the Barbie livery. The first to be treated was 53045 in December 2006. 

Registration Number

Fleet Number

Old Fleet Number

Vehicle Type

Seating Capacity

Date into Service

Current Allocation

Current Livery

VU03YJT

53042

1703

Optare Solo

B26F

6th May 2003

Withdrawn 5 Sept 15 on closure of Hereford depot

Barbie3 (1/07)

VU03YJV

53043

1704

Optare Solo

B26F

6th May 2003

Worcester

First Urban (May 2014)

VU03YJW

53044

1705

Optare Solo

B26F

6th May 2003

Worcester

First Urban with Pink front (11/15)

VU03YJX

53045

1706

Optare Solo

B26F

6th May 2003

Worcester

Barbie3 (12/06)

VU03YJY

53046

1707

Optare Solo

B26F

6th May 2003

Worcester

First Urban (February 13)

VU03YJZ

53047

1708

Optare Solo

B26F

6th May 2003

Worcester

Barbie3 (12/06)

VU03YKB

53048

1709

Optare Solo

B26F

6th May 2003

Worcester

Barbie3 (3/07)

VU03YKC

53049

1710

Optare Solo

B26F

6th May 2003

Withdrawn Nov-08 and passed to First Northampton. Re-acquired 10/10 and re-entered service in Worcester

First Urban with Pink front (7/16)

VU03YKD

53050

1711

Optare Solo

B26F

6th May 2003

Withdrawn 11/11/08 and passed to First Northampton. Re-acquired 10/10 and re-entered service in Worcester

Barbie3 (2/07)

VU03YKE

53051

1712

Optare Solo

B26F

6th May 2003

Withdrawn 11/11/08 and passed to First Northampton. Re-acquired 10/10 and re-entered service in Worcester

First Urban with Pink front (6/16)

Livery Key :  Barbie 3 - is the new corporate Firstgroup livery for all vehicles which is a modified version of the original Barbie livery, New Barbie is the latest corporate livery .  New Urban is the latest version of the corporate livery.(The dates in brackets are when the vehicle was last repainted).

53058-64  VX53OEV/N-R/T/U

On 14th October 2003 First Midland Red took delivery of three further Optare Solo Minibuses for the new "WyeS Moves" group of services in the South Wye area of Hereford. "WyeS Moves" was a project that has been developed in response to issues about access raised through community consultations. A community-based group, The South Wye Accessible Transport Group, supported by the South Wyre Community Development Team and Herefordshire Council, undertook an area-wide household survey on transport during 2001. Following this Herefordshire Council made a successful Urban Bus Challenge bid to the Department for Transport in 2002. The service is also funded using money from Advantage West Midlands (The Government Development Agency for the West Midlands).

The "WyeS Moves" services started on 26th October 2003 and were numbered H8, H9, H10 and H11. The routes link Rotherwas with Belmont via The Pastures, Hinton, Red Hill, Hunderton and Newton Farm, every 30 minutes. The H8 replaced the City Centre to Rotherwas section of 73. From the same date the remaining section of service 73 started to run between Moor Farm and the City Centre only. During the second week of November First Midland Red took delivery of a further Solo (1716 now numbered 53062), which will join 1713-5 (now numbered 53059-61) at Hereford. By Saturday 22nd November 2003 1716-18 (now numbered 53062-5) had all entered service at Hereford. The final Optare Solo 1719 (now numbered 53065) of the batch was delivered to Worcester Garage on 22nd November 2003 and it entered service in Hereford on 29th November 2003. With the introduction of the national vehicle numbering scheme vehicles 1713-9 were to be renumbered 53052-7 but these numbers clashed with Solo vehicles in the First Beeline fleet that had already been renumbered so the First Midland Red vehicles were renumbered 53059-64 respectively. Before the clash in fleet numbers was spotted 1716 did carry the new fleet number 53055 for a short period of time during March 2004.

Registration Number

Fleet Number

Old Fleet Number

Vehicle Type

Seating Capacity

Date into Service

Current Allocation

Current Livery

VX53OEV

53058

1719

Optare Solo

B26F

29-Nov-03

Withdrawn Nov-08 and passed to First Northampton. Re-acquired 10/10 and allocated to Hereford Withdrawn 5 Sept 15 on closure of Hereford depot

New Barbie (June 2014)

VX53OEN

53059

1713

Optare Solo

B26F

26-Oct-03

Withdrawn Nov-08 and passed to First Northampton. Re-acquired 10/10 and allocated to Hereford Withdrawn 5 Sept 15 on closure of Hereford depot

Barbie3 (8/08)

VX53OEO

53060

1714

Optare Solo

B26F

26-Oct-03

Worcester

Barbie3 (8/08)

VX53OEP

53061

1715

Optare Solo

B26F

26-Oct-03

Worcester

Barbie3 (9/08)

VX53OER

53062

1716

Optare Solo

B26F

21-Nov-03

Worcester

Barbie3 (9/08)

VX53OET

53063

1717

Optare Solo

B26F

22-Nov-03

Worcester

Barbie3 (6/07)

VX53OEU

53064

1718

Optare Solo

B26F

21-Nov-03

Withdrawn August 2017 transferred to First South Wales

Barbie

Livery Key :  Barbie  - The livery the vehicles were delivered in when new.  Barbie 3 - is the new corporate Firstgroup livery for all vehicles which is a modified version of the original Barbie livery (The dates in brackets are when the vehicle was last repainted)

53141/52/3 VX04UMU/V & VX05HPP/U  

Over the weekend of the 29th and 30th May 2004 First Midland Red took delivery of two brand new Optare Solo vehicles from dealer stock for use on new  Worcestershire County Council subsidised Flexi-Link services in the Kidderminster/Stourport and Malvern/Upton on Severn areas. As the vehicles are only on contract hire to First Midland Red neither vehicle has been allocated a national fleet number. The two vehicles took the numbers 1720 and 1721 which were the next vacant numbers in the First Midland Red numbering series for Solo vehicles before the adoption of the national numbering scheme.

The vehicles entered service with First Midland Red on Tuesday 1st June 2004 and are fitted with a radio telephone for use by drivers to communicate with the Worcestershire County Council control centre so that they know when and where passengers require picking up from. These vehicles were provided by Worcestershire County Council for use on specific contracts they have with First Midland Red. They are not owned by First Midland Red and are "owned" or rather leased by Worcestershire County Council. At the end of August 2005 1721 was taken out of First Midland Red  service and transferred to Aston's Coaches for use on the service 363 that they have won the contract for. 1720 was also around the same date painted into the new "Worcester Express" livery for the new circular services round the City which are linked to the Worcester North Park and Ride route. During February 2007 1720 was allocated a national First fleet number of 53141. Both 1722 and 1723 were allocated national fleet numbers in February 2007 before being withdrawn in August of that year. 

Registration Number

Fleet Number

Old Fleet Number

Vehicle Type

Seating Capacity

Date into Service

Current Allocation

Current Livery

VX04UMU

53141

1720

Optare Solo

B33F

01-Jun-04

Worcester - Withdrawn 3/07 returned to Worcester CC

Worcester Express

VX04UMV

1721

N/A

Optare Solo

B31F

01-Jun-04

Withdrawn 8/05 reallocated by Worcestershire CC to Aston Coaches then to GHA Travel 10/11

White

VX05HPP

53152

1722

Optare Solo

B31F

21-Mar-05

Withdrawn 8/07 returned to Worcestershire CC

Worcester CC Flexi-link livery

VX05HPU

53153

1723

Optare Solo

B31F

Apr-05

Withdrawn 8/07 returned to Worcestershire CC

Worcester CC Flexi-link livery

53702-6 LK05DXP/R/S/T/U

First Capital took delivery of six specially built 7.8 metre long built Optare Solo's 53701-6 LK05DYO/XP/R/S/T/U in March 2005. The vehicles vehicles operated from Stratford Garage in East London on the Transport for London contracted W12 service from Wanstead to Coppermill Lane via Whipps Cross Hospital. When the contract was lost to Hackney Community Transport in February 2010, the vehicles then passed to First Eastern Counties in March 2010. The vehicles went via Optare in Blackburn for refurbishment and entered service on the town routes in Kings Lynn.

Following the sale of much of the First operation in Kings Lynn to Norfolk Green from Sunday 12th June 2011 the vehicles were surplur to requirements. 53702-6 were transferred to First Midland Red. 53705/6 went to Redditch where there prime was on services 50 and 64. The remainder went to Kidderminster. 53705 and 53706 arrived with First Midland Red on Monday 13th June with 53705 being put to use driver training at Redditch. With the sudden closure of Harding's Coaches 53703 & 53706 when into services at Redditch from 4th July 2011 operating the former Harding's services 60, 63, 76 and 77. All the former Harding's work were run on temporary contracts and following retendering and decision not to renew the contracts for the 76 and 77 53705/6 were transferred to Kidderminster Garage. During February and March 2012 all five vehicles were withdrawn and were transferred to First Edinburgh. 

Registration Number

Fleet Number

Vehicle Type

Seating Capacity

Date into Service

Current Allocation

Current Livery

LK05DXP

53702

Optare Solo

B21F

July 2011

Withdrawn 2/12 - transferred to First Edinburgh

Barbie3

LK05DXR

53703

Optare Solo

B21F

4th July 2011

Withdrawn 3/12 - transferred to First Midland Bluebird 3/12

Barbie3

LK05DXS 53704

Optare Solo

B21F

July 2011

Withdrawn 2/12 - transferred to First Edinburgh

Barbie3

LK05DXT

53705

Optare Solo

B21F

July 2011

Withdrawn 3/12 - transferred to First Midland Bluebird 3/12

Barbie3

LK05DXU

53706

Optare Solo

B21F

4th July 2011

Withdrawn 2/12 - transferred to First Edinburgh

Barbie3

53802 WX05RRV

Following a tendering exercise for a number of bus routes in Herefordshire First Midland Red were able to win a three vehicle package. The contract requires the use of a small low floor vehicle that has seatbelts fitted for a schooldays journey. As a result 53802 was transferred from First South Wales in exchange for Worcester allocated 53064 that moved the other way to South Wales.  53802 arrived at Worcester on 29th August 2017 and went into service for driver training on the new routes it was going to operate. The vehicle actually entered passenger service at Worcester on 5th September 2017. To create the best possible image for this new seven year contract the vehicle was repainted at the the company's Stoke on Trent depot over the autumn half term holiday returning to Worcester on 27th October 2018 sporting the current Worcester First Urban livery but with Villager branding.

Registration Number

Fleet Number

Vehicle Type

Seating Capacity

Date into Service

Current Allocation

Current Livery

WX05RRV

53802

Optare Solo

B27F

5th September 2017

Worcester

First Urban

10/17