Metrobus began life in 1983 with a fleet of six vehicles operating from a depot in Orpington, Kent. It was acquired by the Go-Ahead Group in 1999. Metrobus started operating route 358 as a commercial venture in May 1989, with just two coach-operated return journeys on weekdays only. The route was very successful and was increased to hourly the following year and to every 20 minutes in 1992, when it was restructured to operate between Orpington Station and Crystal Palace.
In 2002, the 358 became a Transport for London contract with an increase in frequency to every 12 minutes. Metrobus retained the route on tender in 2003 and 17 new Scania Omnicities were delivered for the service. They were allocated fleet numbers 514-530 and followed on from an order for Metrobus’ Fastway operation in Crawley. The vehicles are dual door, have 37 seats and are 12 metres long and 2.55 metres wide. They were delivered painted red with a blue and yellow waistband, which was later removed.
The Scania OmniCity is a one-piece casting whose clean lines accentuate the square-mounted, double-glazed windows and the livery application on which all logos and lettering are clearly legible. Key features of the UK7000 series, exemplified on UK7009, include two doors, an extensive portrayal of handrails and the headlight / indicator units at the front made of individual, translucent components to look more realistic.
As Metrobus is one of the loyal customers in the UK to the Scania OmniCity, CMNL has produced UK7002 Metrobus Fastway (dual door) and UK7005 Metrobus Rt.X26 (single door) since 2005. UK7009 is the third batch of replicas showcasing Metrobus colours.