Prepared on Wordpad by Ian Smith,

This page created 20th February 2017.

Apart from Arriva on the outer fringes, the major London bus companies found little attraction in the Optare Solo. They were firmly welded to the Dart and Dart SLF, which suited their small bus needs. But the Solo was different. It DID have a so low floor: just a 25mm step up. With the front wheels right at the front it could reach right into thekerb at stops - useful before Kassell kerbs caught on. Less useful at bus stations with fences to prevent access except right at the front!

But independent operators around London did find niches that were well filled by the Solos, at first the 8.5m version, and then a selection of different sizes. Epsom was a keen user, as was Crystals. That then involved Tellings Golden Miller and Metrobus. Arriva the Shires used small ones for niche workings in London's Hampstead and Golder Green area, which were eventually taken over by Metroline, who then had some of their own. Mitcham Belle had a few for the K5 contract. Connex and then Travel London were brief users. Northdown had some. First used some from Romford on the 193 London contract. Later the second-hand market operators took on quite a few: Go-Coach at Otford, Trustybus - later Central Connect - used them in Hertfordshire. Uno and Centrebus used them too.

Ian's Bus Stop Solo index