Optares for CT Plus Jersey LibertyBus service

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New name wins vote by tiny margin as HCT Group order 33 Solo SRs for the island

Optare has received an order for 33 of its Solo SR model, to be used on the Island of Jersey.

Hackney-based social enterprise company HCT Group is taking the vehicles to form the backbone of a new bus fleet on Jersey, following its successful win of a competitive tendering process from the island’s government. Operating as CT Plus, it already provides transport on neighbouring Guernsey and begins its Jersey services on January 1.

The CT Plus buses are the Slimline version of the Solo SR, which at 2.35 metres wide will be well- suited to the island’s narrow roads. At 9.7 metres in length, the buses are equipped with Lazzerini 3840 Pratico seating and feature Actia CCTV and Mobitec destination equipment.

Optare Sales Director John Horn said: “HCT’s choice of the Solo SR is based on good experience with the model in its operations in mainland Britain and will provide a first-class service to the Islanders. Furthermore, its use on Jersey will allow the bus to be showcased to the many thousands of holiday makers who visit the island each year.

“I am delighted to win this business from such a highly respected operator. Along with many other orders this year for our Solo SR they prove what an unrivalled lead the model has in the midibus sector.”

In a separate development, CT Plus Jersey revealed the name the islanders have chosen for Jersey’s new bus service as LibertyBus, after a very close vote.

The company received dozens of outstanding ideas from the local community which it reduced to a shortlist of four and polled the Jersey public on its preferred option.

The final result was very close with LibertyBus just beating Avanchi – one of two Jèrriais names on the shortlist – by a handful of votes.

LibertyBus becomes the brand name for Jersey’s bus service from the beginning of 2013. It will appear on each vehicle, the bus service website, brochures and timetables.

Dai Powell, HCT Group Chief Executive, said: “The Jersey public has now decided what their buses will look like and what their bus service will be called. We’ve been delighted with the response. We think it’s really important we continue to engage with islanders about how we plan to develop the LibertyBus service.”

LibertyBus received 41.98% of the public votes. Avanchi (advance move forward) received 41.23%. The other two options were Jersey Clipper which was favoured by 9.16% of the votes cast and Douze Vailes (Twelve Sails) which polled 7.63%.