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Seven Mellor Orion E buses for Leeds’ FlexiBus DRT pilot

West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Leeds City Council and First West Yorkshire have taken delivery of seven Mellor Orion E buses for use on their new FlexiBus on-demand service. The vehicles, presented in the operator’s eye-catching livery, entered service on September 27th.

The battery-electric Orion E buses are running throughout East Leeds, improving connections to key destinations and transport hubs. Each bus can carry a total of 12 passengers, with rides booked through the dedicated FlexiBus WY app.

Edwin Swaris, Head of Mobility Services at West Yorkshire Combined Authority, said, “The use of electric-powered vehicles on the service is of great benefit to the local area, and the vehicles are of a suitable size to access all areas of the operating zone. Despite Covid restrictions and remote working, the two teams worked well together to finalise the more detailed aspects of the vehicle specification and meet the specific requirements of the service and the drivers.”

Configured specifically for FlexiBus operations, the Orion E fleet features a rapid sliding door and fold-out accessibility ramp leading to a rearward-facing wheelchair space. Hanover destination equipment, 21st Century CCTV, a Webasto saloon heater and Greenroad telematics have been fitted to each bus. Customers can also enjoy USB charging, with sockets conveniently located next to the Phonex Sirius seats.

“We’ve had positive feedback from the drivers who find the buses handle well and are responsive when going up hills or pulling away from stops,” Swaris adds. “There’s also been positive feedback from passengers and stakeholders who found the buses light, airy, comfortable and, most of all, clean and quiet.”

With a range of 160Km and the ability to rapid charge, the Mellor Orion E is a practical and economical alternative to diesel-engined buses. Passengers benefit from Orion E’s low-floor design, providing easy access for wheelchair users and passengers with reduced mobility.

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