Text by James Bow and Robert Lubinski
- A Brief History of Orion Bus Industries
- The Orion I
- The Orion II
- The Orion III / Ikarus Articulated
- The Orion IV
- The Orion V
- The Orion VII
A Natural Gas Bus
In 1998, the Toronto Transit Commission purchased 50 Orion VI buses from Orion Bus Industries. Numbered 9200-9249, they represented the TTC’s first low-floor, wheelchair accessible buses. They were also powered by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). Soon after the order was placed, the commission soured on compressed natural gas as a fuel source. An additional order for 50 Orion VI buses was changed instead to 50 Orion V lift buses.
The Orion VIs were based out of Wilson division and mainly operated on the 161 ROGERS RD., 7 BATHURST, 29 DUFFERIN, 47 LANSDOWNE and 105 DUFFERIN NORTH routes. Due to the all low-floor design, seating capacity was greatly reduced from high-floor bus models, and these buses were often filled to crush capacity when operating on busy routes. The TTC’s frustration with the Orion VIs design led TTC Commissioner David Gunn to criticize low floor buses in general, and issue a call for a thorough redesign that could combine accessibility with the means of serving the day-to-day needs of TTC passengers.
When the TTC decided to phase out its natural gas program and convert the Orion V lift buses to diesel, it decided that the Orion VI series would not be converted and would instead be retired early. By June 12, 2005, only 48 of these buses remained in service. Further retirements quickly followed, and the entire series was retired by the end of 2006. As these buses only operated for just eight years, they are among the shortest-lived series of regular TTC buses.
The Full TTC Orion Fleet History
Demonstrator model, sold to Ride-On
Orion VI Image Archive
TTC Orion VI bus #9228 prepares to turn from Yonge to Queens Quay in service on the 320 YONGE NIGHT bus on March 27, 2006. Photo by Rob Hutchinson.
The Toronto Transit Commission's bus #9243, a Daimler Buses North America/Orion Bus Industries Orion 06.501 "VI" CNG model, out of service and parked on Yorkdale Road in North York, Ontario, Canada. This photo was taken on August 20, 2003, and this bus has since been retired from TTC service. Photo by GTD Aquitaine.
TTC Orion VI 9243 on display at the 1998 Bus "Roadeo".
TTC Orion VI 9246 on display during a bus roadeo at the Arrow Road Garage, displaying a 12 KINGSTON ROAD route sign. Photo by Brad O'Brien.
TTC Orion VI bus #9249 lays over at Earlscourt loop at the north end of the main branch of 47 LANSDOWNE. This photograph was taken by James Bow on May 31, 1999.
TTC Orion V CNG bus #9384 wrapped in the Levi's ad, seen on route 42 CUMMER at Finch Station on September 27, 2001. Photo taken by Felix Tse.
- Articulated Bus, Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto (Ontario), 1990.
- Bus World Encyclopedia of Buses, Stauss Publications, Woodland Hills (California), 1988.
- Diesel City Bus, Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto (Ontario), 1991.
- “Orion International.” - CPTDB Wiki. Canadian Public Transit Discussion Board, 10 Mar. 2014. Web. 21 July 2014.