Five Optare Metrodeckers were ordered in June 2018 for the Green Line 702 service for delivery in June 2019, the first diesel powered production vehicles of the type. Delivery was subsequently delayed until October 2019 and February 2020 before the order was cancelled in July 2020 due to a combination of production delays, an inability to provide a delivery schedule, mixed reviews regarding the demonstrator and the difficult financial situation posed by Covid-19.
Following on from summer 2015 vehicle trails, an Optare Metrodecker arrived in December 2015 for a number of weeks loan. It's time was primarily spent on Woodley services 13 and 14 due to the demonstrator's bright orange livery, but it also spent a short period on Vodafone services in Newbury before returning to Optare. It returned on 4th March 2016.
Further demonstrator YJ16 DFG entered service on loan on 24th March 2018, allocated fleet number 899 in light blue. It was confirmed as staying on long term loan in June following the order for five vehicles being placed, and was repainted into Green Line livery at the end of June 2018. It is seen below at the annual Reading Buses family open day on 1 July 2018:
899 was withdrawn on 21 March as Green Line 702 was suspended due to the Covid-19 lockdown, then following the cancellation of the order repainted into London red 10-23 July, and returned to Optare on 27 July.
Last updated: 17-08-20