By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy Optare

FOLLOWING UK Tower Transit’s two new electric bus routes' tender win announced last November, the company – aka Transit Systems in Australia, now part of the Sealink Travel Group – has finally placed its order for the 37 electric buses needed with UK company Optare, it’s reported recently.

Tower Transit’s order is the third major contract for the Metrodecker EV in just over a year and the second order for the capital, states Optare.

The 37 electric Metrodecker EV buses - touted as "…the world’s first zero-emission double-decker" - is designed and built at Optare’s facility in Sherburn, near Leeds, England.

Optare’s parent company is Ashok Leyland and is part of the UK-based Hindjua Group.

As reported in ABC magazine at the time (, Tower Transit was awarded the contract for routes 23 and C3 by Transport for London in November, 2019. The routes will operate out of the operator’s Westbourne Park garage in the North West of the Capital. Routes C3 and 23 will be Tower Transit’s first battery electric operation, the company confirms.

The award-winning Metrodecker EV was launched as a double-deck prototype in 2016 and, following extensive trials in London and in a number of cities across the UK, the company launched its second generation EV bus in 2018. The Metrodecker EV entered service in summer 2019.



The Optare Metrodecker EV won the Excellence in Technology Award at the London Transport Awards, in March 2019. The event recognises outstanding achievement in all facets of transportation in the city.

The judging panel selected the Optare Metrodecker EV ahead of innovative solutions on rail, road, infrastructure, ticketing and information in delivering the world’s first truly zero-emission battery electric double-deck bus, the company states.

The London Transport Award wasn’t the Metrodecker’s only industry accolade. In November 2018, it was also recognised by the CILT and UK Bus Awards for its contribution to Environmental Improvement.



Tower Transit’s order is the third major contract for the Metrodecker EV in just over a year and the second order for the capital, states Optare. By the end of 2020, 100 units will be in service, it confirms.

Optare’s chief executive officer, Graham Belgum, said: "I am proud to see the Metrodecker EV consolidate its position in London with a second order on a further two routes. This commitment is testament to the capability of the vehicle."

"The partnership with Tower Transit has been developed through the tender process and we are now working closely together to deliver the customer’s specification.

"We look forward to a successful roll-out later this year," Belgum said.

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Tower Transit Group’s engineering director, Satnam Cheema, said: "Tower Transit’s win of routes 23 and C3 was based on a comprehensive study of EV operations and the technology available. We were impressed by the performance of the Metrodecker EV demonstrator during trials."

"The bus also enhanced our bid by offering a straightforward charging solution at our Westbourne Park garage.

"We are confident of a successful launch and we intend to use the experience gained to win further EV routes in London."

Both routes will launch in the third quarter of 2020.



The Tower Transit Group is an innovative passenger transport operator that works with governments to deliver world-class bus services, it states.

Established in the UK in 2013, Tower Transit operates a modern fleet that includes fuel cell and hybrid buses on some of the most popular routes in central London on behalf of the Mayor and Transport for London, it confirms. In 2015, it was awarded Singapore’s first competitively tendered government bus contract.

Tower Transit is part of the SeaLink Travel Group, one of Australia’s premier tourism and transport operators, it states.

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Optare is a leading British manufacturer of urban buses with a modern assembly facility in Sherburn-in-Elmet, near Leeds, Yorkshire, employing around 400 people, it states.

Its award-winning range of buses features an integral design and efficient diesel engines, plus an industry-leading choice of electric units utilising the latest low-carbon technology, it says.

The Optare group PLC is part of Ashok Leyland, one of the top four global bus producers, and part of the Hinduja Group, it adds.

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