Please note: this page wouldn’t have been possible without the kindness of Terry O’Neill, Howard Wilde and Jonathon Lawrence. Links to where you can find their photos is listed below!
A common misconception is that OP07ARE was new a 2007 Hybrid Optare Versa. However this is not the case!
OP07ARE was first displayed at the 2008 Coach and Bus Expo, and later gained the registration YJ58BZY. Interestingly, it was displayed with the N9 on its blinds! It was built as a diesel London spec Versa, with a stock interior.
The earliest photos of it date to August 2009, when it was photographed on route 460 with Morris Travel. In October that year, it appeared working for with St David’s Travel in Pontypridd. It worked their route 20A with an A4 sheet in the front window.
In February 2010, it was loaned to Stephenson’s of Essex, where it worked route 61.
In September of that year, it had already begun its transformation into what most people know as OP07ARE.
It reappeared with a battery pack on its roof, covered with a blue sheet. It was photographed on driver training duties for the new Metroshuttle hybrid Versas that were due for Manchester.
It debuted once more in July of 2011, in its hybrid form with its new reg, OP07ARE. In November the of that year, it first appeared in service with Go-Ahead, as their HOV1.
During its time with Go-Ahead, it mostly appeared on route 360. That isn’t to say it didn’t stray! On the 8th of August 2012, it worked route 42. It worked its last with the company on the 8th of October that year.
On 24/04/13, it was pictured on the A1 in South Yorkshire, and wasn’t seen again until March of 2015.
In March of 2015, it appeared to be with South Lancs Travel (Rotala) in Atherton. It ran around on route EI1 with a makeshift blind in the front window.
Then on 19/12/2015, OP07ARE returned to London service with Quality Line, albeit with a revised fleet-number (HOV01) and without the majority of its branding. It remained with the company up until 14/06/2017, when it worked its last. It’s replacement, DLE30070 entered service a mere 2 days later.
It was sent back to Optare and has been there ever since. It was still around on the 6th of November 2020, although was missing its roof pod. Its current status is unknown, and is marked as SORN.
Another Optare Versa has taken the reg plate OP07ARE, which is a diesel xFE demo.
For those interested about how it sounded or how it drove, this video is a good representation of it: