A shuttle bus made in Yorkshire is to become the new star attraction at world famous golf resort Hamilton Island in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, a favourite destination for world famous celebrities including talk show queen Oprah, Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio and TV chef Gordon Ramsay.
A new Optare Solo has started operating as a shuttle bus on the island, which is car free with only golf buggies and a free shuttle service moving guests around the resort.
The 7.5m slim Solo is fully air conditioned and works 18-hour days covering 200km.
Until recently the island has depended on 18-21 seat Midibuses for its shuttle service.
The new Solo’s are the first in the island’s fleet replacement programme.
Optare said the Solo has low floor access and a dedicated wheelchair or buggy space. It can navigate tight roads on the island not suited to other low floor midi buses and this means that passenger boarding and alighting time is cut down. The Solo can carry 50 passengers so there is reduced waiting time at the island’s bus stops.
Tony Fairweather, managing director of Patico Automotive, Optare’s distributor in Australia, said: “The Solo 7.5m is perfectly suited to a mix of passenger loads and provides the ideal combination of peak and off peak passenger numbers.”
Optare CEO Enrico added: “I am delighted to see that the Solo is quickly becoming a favourite with our Australian customers as it has been with our UK operators for many years now.”
Optare manufacturers urban buses from a modern assembly facility near Leeds, employing 400 people.