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GM's New Look Articulated Buses

Text by Robert Lubinski

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In 1982, the TTC tested twelve articulated buses produced by General Motors as part of a demonstration program sponsored by the Ontario government. At the time, articulated buses were a revolutionary idea for North American transit, although such vehicles had been in use in Europe for many years. The GM vehicles were also different because, rather than “pulling” the trailing section of the bus, the buses used rear wheel drive, so that the trailer section pushed the rest of the bus. These 60 foot buses boasted a seating capacity of 55 passengers, and were powered by an 8-cylinder diesel engine.

In addition to the “unique ‘pusher-type’ turntable”, the bus was designed to limit its angular motion to 7 degrees whenever the bus was driving at normal speeds in a straight direction and 2 degrees whenever the bus was at highway speed. Automatic control systems were supposed to correct things should the vehicle exceed these limits.

The vehicles were tested for two years. Although concerns were raised about maintaining these non standard vehicles, the fact that they could carry 1.5 times the passenger load of a normal 40 foot bus meant that the TTC could improve capacity on heavily used bus lines without having to pay extra drivers to do it. Due to the provincial government’s strong encouragement in the 1980s to purchase buses from transit vehicle makers such as Orion and UTDC, however, Toronto did not purchase any of the GM articulated vehicles, choosing instead Orion Ikarus models. The twelve GM articulated buses were sold to Mississauga Transit in 1987.

If you have pictures of the GM articulated buses in operation on the TTC and would like to share them with the public, please e-mail us.

GM Articulated Specifications

  • TTC 8500-8511 Model GMC-TA60-102N Delivery in 1982
  • Length: 60’ (18.3 m)
  • Width: 102” (2.6 m)
  • Height (maximum): 121.5” (3.1 m)
  • Wheelbase - 1st to middle axle: 235” (597 cm)
  • Wheelbase - Middle to last axle: 281.7” (716 cm)
  • Turning circle: 43’9” (13.3 m)
  • Weight: 33,260 lb (15,087 kg)
  • Engine: Detroit Diesel Allison 8V-71N
  • Horsepower: 255 HP @ 2,000 RPM
  • Displacement: 568 cu in (9,308 cc)
  • Transmission: Detroit Diesel Allison V735 Automatic
  • Fuel Tank: 125 Imperial Gallons (568 litres)
  • Seating Capacity: 55
  • Heating: 114,000 BTU (28,500 kcal) main system, 41,800 BTU (10,000 kcal) front and defroster system, 80,000 BTU (20,000 kcal) booster unit
  • Ventilation: 4 roof hatches for ventilation and emergency, 9 fully opening windows.

GM Articulated Image Archive


References