Transdev orders Versas for Burnley

The new Optare Versas will replace Wright Eclipse 2-bodied Volvo B7RLEs, like 1861 (FJ58 LTF), on the Mainline network. JOHN YOUNG

Passenger feedback has helped specify a new £4.6million fleet of 30 Optare Versas that Transdev will introduce on its Mainline network in the Burnley area this summer.

The Burnley & Pendle subsidiary — expected to be rebranded as The Burnley Bus Company — conducted customer research before finalising what it says is a bespoke specification for the singledeckers.

The Make My Mainline programme encouraged passengers to communicate their ideas through Twitter in addition to more structured online surveys.

‘No motor manufacturer would design a new car without thinking long and hard about the features most likely to attract buyers, and so why would we possibly design our new Mainline buses without capturing the views of our customers from across Burnley and Pendle?’ says chief executive officer Alex Hornby.

‘We knew the only way to come up with a new fleet of buses that our customers will really love using was to put their ideas centre stage – and they’ve done us proud with some fantastic ideas, as well as a firm reminder about basic requirements too.

‘It’s relatively easy to come up with a new bus, bought off-the-peg from one of the big manufacturers that offers standard design features which passengers have come to expect nowadays. We invited our customers to tell us what they most wanted to see on board,’ he says.

‘Some of the wackiest ideas suggested to us included amphibious buses that could drive along Pendle Water or having coffee machines and baristas on every bus. But we found out that most of our passengers really want fast, free and reliable WiFi, at-seat USB power points and more wireless charging points, which are now expected as standard.

‘Perhaps surprisingly, the demand for more basic things like better legroom, a bright and well-lit environment, a place to rest belongings and even a bigger litter bin all rated highly in the survey — all of which have led to enhancements on these new Mainline buses, compared to previous models.’