Metrobus future sealed
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• The sale of the final significant Metro Cammell Weymann product, the Metrobus, is set to go to a joint consortium between Daf Bus and Leedsbased bodybuilder Optare.
The deal will provide backup continuity for Metrobus owners and revive the product for the 1990s.
The sale will also cement the two companies' partnership, already forged with the Daf SB220 Delta single-decker. It will give the Dutch manufacturer a proven city double-deck chassis, and almost certainly marks the culmination of Optare's plans to market a double-decker.
The Metrobus is expected to undergo some re-engineering with a Daf unit powering the chassis, and the Optare body is likely to be redesigned. It is not yet known if it will share commonality with the Delta design or follow existing styles. It is also undecided whether the aluminium alloy structure, using the Alusuisse body system which makes up the Delta body, will be used.
Spares and parts support is expected from Daf with the operation continuing initially from Birmingham. A move to the Leyland Daf parts centre is expected next year. The takeover will bring relief to a number of MCW Metrobus operators, who have resorted to legal action in attempts to secure their warranties and spares supply. In addition to London Buses and West Midlands Travel, which both operate over 1,000 Metrobuses each, many other companies run significant numbers of the model.
Most of the large former PTE operators have large numbers of the Mark II, with recent deliveries being made to Strathclyde Buses, Yorkshire Rider and Merseybus.
I: Production of the MCW Metrorider minibus, now under the control of Optare, is in full swing, with the first production model expected to break cover at next week's Bus and Coach '89, at the NEC, Birmingham.
Optare has taken the existing parts stock from the Laird Group and already offers a spares and parts service from its Leeds factory. The vehicle is being built on existing jigs, but will have body refinements.