Special Feature: Optare Metrocity buses, Wellington

By: Lyndsay Whittle, Photography by: Lyndsay Whittle


Deals on Wheels checks out Tranzit Group's shiny new Optare Metrocity buses built to service Wellington’s steep and winding city streets

The brightly coloured buses operated by Tranzurban Wellington (a division of Tranzit Group)—configured in 10.1m (MC10130) and 10.8m (MC10820) lengths and capable of carrying up to 55 passengers—have been built specifically to service the Greater Wellington routes, with the smaller 10.1m buses being designed for use around Wellington’s steep and winding city streets.

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Both the shorter MC10130 and the longer MC10820 derivatives of the Metrocity buses have been fitted with the higher output 130kW (174bhp) engines. Tranzit Group is one of the largest New Zealand’s public transport operators and is based in Masterton in the Wairarapa region of the North Island.

Tranzurban driver trainer Tua Tarara, who drove the bus to the official launch at The British High Commission grounds at Karori—a suburb of Wellington—says the bus handled the narrow car-lined streets with ease, courtesy of a combination of great manoeuvrability and an excellent view of surroundings from the driver’s seat.

The official launch, which was held on 19 April 2018, was attended by representatives from the Greater Wellington Regional Council, Optare Group, Tranzit Group, Buscorp Oceania, and the media.

Acting British High Commissioner Helen Smith, who performed the ribbon-cutting ceremony along with Optare president Graham Belgum, said that as a new mother, she appreciated the benefits that will be gained by parents of infants and young children when making use of the dedicated pushchair and pram bay situated at the front, on the nearside of the bus.

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As per standard, all buses have wheelchair access and a dedicated wheelchair bay situated on the opposite side from the pram bay. Another well-thought-out feature of the new buses is a bike rack fitted to the front of the bus, which folds out and has a two-bike capacity.

Jason Pecotic, general manager of Buscorp Oceania, who is the Optare dealer in New Zealand, says, "We are delighted to be providing warranty and full aftermarket support for the vehicles and are working closely with Optare to expand the product reach to operators in New Zealand and Australia."

Chris Laidlaw, chair of the Greater Wellington Regional Council explained the purchase of 114 Optare buses succinctly when he said: "At Greater Wellington, we’re on our way to a more integrated public transport network so we can take more people to more places, more often, at the same time as reducing emissions."

Optare Metrocity buses were chosen for their Euro 6 certified* Mercedes OM934 engines and for the unique monocoque construction that reduces the bus’ unladen weight by 900kg, allowing a fully loaded bus to operate at under 12 tonnes GVM.

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Paul Snelgrove, managing director of Tranzit Group, says Optare’s innovation in design went as far as giving thoughtful consideration towards providing easy access for technicians during servicing intervals, citing that an engine removal and replacement could be carried out in less than two hours.

As the engine sits in a cradle and is easily removed, it’s entirely possible that the diesel-powered unit could be replaced with an all-electric power plant with little effort, Paul says.

State-of-the-art servicing features aside, it’s a fairly safe bet that the bus’ light and spacious interior (the aisles are almost 40mm wider than competitor’s buses) that will be foremost in the passengers’ minds as they’re transported in air-conditioned comfort around the Greater Wellington region for many years to come. 

*Euro 6 certification is currently the highest and newest global emissions standard. A full set of Optare Metrocity specifications is available on request at optare.com.

Optare Metrocity bus engine specifications

Make and model Mercedes OM934LA
Cylinders 4
Capacity 174bhp @ 2200rpm
Aspiration Turbocharged diesel
Emissions rating Euro 6
SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) Yes
EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) Yes

Optare special features

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  • Monocoque construction (900kg lighter than chassis models)
  • Euro 6 emissions-rated (current highest achievable)
  • Front-mounted foldout twin pushbike rack
  • Extra-wide aisle
  • Dedicated dual bays for wheelchair and parent’s area

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