|East Lancs / Optare Esteem|
A Preston Bus Esteem
|Capacity||33 to 60 (up to 43 seated)|
|Options||Air conditioning, Seatbelts, CCTV and Electronic destination displays.|
The Optare Esteem (introduced in 2006 as the East Lancs Esteem, and sold as the Darwen Esteem between 2007 and 2008) is a single-deck bus body. It has been built on Scania N94UB, Scania N230UB, Volvo B7RLE, MAN 12.240, Dennis Dart SLF, Alexander Dennis Enviro200 Dart and Alexander Dennis Enviro300 chassis.
The Esteem was launched by East Lancashire Coachbuilders. When they went into administration, they were bought by Darwen Group and the Esteem was rebranded. Darwen later performed a reverse takeover of Optare, resulting in the Esteem being rebranded again.
Metrobus have the largest number of the original East Lancs Esteems, approximately half of which are on the OmniTown chassis while the other half are on Dennis Dart SLF chassis (which has now been superseded by the Alexander Dennis Enviro200 Dart). The first two Esteems to be built on the Alexander Dennis Enviro300 chassis were delivered to Courtney Coaches in 2006, and were the first Enviro300s with bodywork not built by Alexander Dennis. Other companies who have Esteems in service are Stagecoach in Preston, Heathrow Airport (on contract to an operator) and many more.
The first few examples of the Esteem only had new front and rear ends, the sides still being of the older Myllennium design.
A East Lancs demonstrator has toured the UK (2006/2007, some of the main places it has been to are London, with Blue Triangle; Nottingham, with Nottingham City Transport; Reading, with Reading Buses Picture, Blackburn, with Blackburn Transport and Southampton, with Uni-link.
The first customers for the Esteem under Darwen ownership were Preston Bus, one of whose vehicles was shown at Coach and Bus Live 2007.
As of December 2008, the Esteem has been removed (along with the Solo+) from the products list on Optare's website. Production of Optare Esteem ended in 2009, with the last being built on Enviro200 Dart chassis for Go-Ahead London.
- ↑ "Fleet News England and Wales", Buses (618): 46. September 2006.
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