The Orion VI Bus

Text by James Bow and Robert Lubinski

See Also

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

Class

Fleet Numbers

Delivered

Retired

Length

Power

Notes

Orion VI

2000

1995

1996

40 feet

CNG

Demonstrator model, sold to Ride-On 

Orion VI

9200-9249

1997-8

2006

40 feet

diesel

 


Orion VI Image Archive


References

  • 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.