New to Ipswich as one of 4 Excels built for the new Copdock/London Road Park and Ride scheme which opened in 1997.
It worked along 186-8 on the 800 service until 2002 when the contract was renewed and they were replaced with newer Optare Excels (170-3). They then transfered onto town work, With 186/9 gaining fleet livery with 188 gaining a white version of the 100years livery/Competition and 187 retaining its purple livery to act as a P&R spare.
In 2008, Ipswich Buses lost the contract for the Park and Ride to First, meaning all P&R vehicles to transfer onto the town network meaning other older vehicles to depart from the fleet. It was decided to withdraw all Optare Excel Mk1 vehicles and offer them for sale. 189 and others (188/191-4/6) were sold to Ensign (dealer). 189 left Ipswich for pastures new on the 12/01/2009
Tates Travel purchased 189 and 193 (P443 SWX) and used them on many barnsley services from their base in Darton, They later moved to bigger premises in Barugh Green, A decision was taken by Tates to withdraw and scrap all the Optare Excels they had to standardise their fleet on Newer Darts, to meet SYPTE Euro rules etc.
189 seen in use with Tates Travel in Barnley (c) South Yorkshire Transport Web
In July/August the IBPG contacted Tates Travel to save R189DDX from going to the scrapyard, The Beginning of August we had gone and looked at 189, and secured it for preservation. On the 10th August it passed into IBPG's ownership.
This is the First Optare Excel in Preservation
Also it is thought to be the first low floor bus in preservation also!!
189 is currently off the road, although every effort is being taken for it to return to the streets of Ipswich soon, although other vehicles within the group have taken priority over 189 unfortunately
''An important development and an indication of the small band of fans of the Optare Excel is the purchase for preservation after finishing service of R189DDX, being returned to the Ipswich area having been purchased from Tate of Darton back in August 2010. Not only is this the first Excel known to have been officially bought for preservation purposes, it could be the very first low floor/kneeling vehicle in preservation also'' - Quote from Optare Excel Site/News