Orion VII (Toronto Transit Commission bus)

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TTC Orion VII bus
Toronto Transit Commission 7549-a.jpg
A TTC Orion 07.501 "VII" bus #7549 shown at Kennedy Stn. On route 43B Kennedy.
Overview
Manufacturer Orion International
Production 2002–2012
Assembly Mississauga, Ontario
Oriskany, New York
Body and chassis
Class Transit bus
Body style Stainless steel
Layout T-Drive or series hybrid
Doors 2 doors
Floor type Semi low-floor
Related Toronto Transit Commission bus system
Toronto Transit Commission bus fleet
Powertrain
Engine Detroit Diesel Series 50 EGR (2002-2005)
Cummins ISB (2006-2009)
Cummins ISL (2006-2007, 2010)
Cummins ISL9 (2011-2012)
Transmission Allison B400R (2002-2007 diesel models, 5 speed and 2010-2012 diesel models, 6 speed)
BAE HybriDrive system (hybrid models)
Dimensions
Wheelbase 190 in (4.83 m), 226 in (5.74 m), or 286 in (7.26 m)
Length 40.5 ft (12.34 m)
Width 102 in (2.59 m)
Height 127 in (3.23 m) (diesel)
132 in (3.35 m) (diesel electric hybrid)
Chronology
Predecessor GM New Look
Successor Nova Bus LFS Artic

The TTC Orion VII buses were standard semi low-floor transit buses used for public transport operated by the Toronto Transit Commission built by Orion International in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. They are the most common buses in the TTC fleet. This model is manufactured for the TTC by Orion International in Mississauga, Ontario and Oriskany, New York.

The buses are the first model of bus that TTC has purchased in the 21st century. Built with a stainless steel frame, low-floor front and high floor back (semi low-floor configuration), the Orion VII addresses many of the complaints the TTC had about the Orion Vs and VIs, including poor quality construction, poor metals that corroded prematurely, inadequate passenger capacity, inadequate accessibility, and excessive emissions. The Orion VIIs use a stainless steel design that won’t corrode like the earlier carbon steel frames. The bus is fully accessible, includes Luminator Horizon LED destination signs for greater visibility, has more seats and floor space than other low-floor buses on the market, and employs a clean-burning diesel engine, eliminating the need to invest in alternative fuels and technologies.[1]

These buses have been delivered since 2002. The GM New Looks and other older models have been retired as the Orion VIIs have been added to the fleet.

History[edit]

Around 2001, a C32Y01883 contract was awarded to bus manufacturers for 220 diesel buses to replace some of their existing fleet in need of retirement from their short lifespans. Thirteen companies were issued copies of the proposal documents; four companies expressed interest during the proposal period: NovaBUS, Neoplan, New Flyer and Orion. Neoplan withdrew because it was concerned about its inability to comply with the proposal requirement that products be fully made of stainless steel (the TTC standard for future orders). NovaBUS had to pull out due to a backlog of orders in Quebec.[2] New Flyer and Orion were proponents on the proposal as the RFP was cancelled and negotiated with the two companies. Orion's proposal was to have a bus with its 18-year-design life which is the Orion VII launched that year. New Flyer proposed 100 D40LFs and 120 D40i "Inveros" for the 2003 and 2004 order but the carbon steel is not designed as a result, Orion meets the TTC requirements and awarded the contract.

In 2002 the TTC ordered 220 units for delivery in 2003 and 2004, with an option for an additional 250 vehicles in 2005. The TTC picked up the option in 2003 with an additional 12 vehicles added in 2005, likely as compensation for Orion not delivering the 2003 and 2004 orders on time. TTC has since placed another order with Orion for 330 more VIIs for delivery in 2006 and 2007, with 180 diesel buses (80 (7900-7979) to be delivered in 2006 and 100 (8000-8099) to be delivered in 2007). The remaining 150 will be diesel-electric hybrids to be delivered in 2006, the decision to purchase HEVs based on the deployment of hybrids in New York City.

In 2007, the Next Generation buses were ordered by the TTC as hybrids, incorporating features that were found to be desired by customers. Most notably, the rear seating arrangement was reconfigured from eight forward-facing seats to six perimeter seats due to numerous complaints of lack of space on the previous VII orders. Additional stanchions and stop-request buttons in the rear section of the bus and padded seat bottoms throughout were also implemented. Facing problems with lead acid batteries, TTC has been buying diesel buses since 2010 because the batteries on are proving too "hit and miss". They were eventually converted to lithium ion in 2009-2010.[3]

On September 2, 2009, unit 1517 suffered an arson fire at 2:45 am. The accused, Steven Edwards, faces numerous assault, arson, and weapons charges and was found guilty.[4][5]

Following the retirement of the last GM New Look buses in December 2011, the Orion VIIs made up 70% of the entire TTC fleet, whose 170 routes are accessible.[6]

TTC has delivered the last 62 Orion VIIs for 2012, although the RFP proposal tenders were responded for 40-foot bus orders in 2013 and 2016 [7] with 60-foot articulated bus orders in 2013, 2014, and 2015 from Orion, New Flyer, or NovaBUS.[8] Orion was closed as Daimler reconfigured its operations in North America, and was therefore automatically withdrawn from the bid. NovaBUS received the next order. The contract was awarded on August 2, 2012 to NovaBUS for 153 60-foot articulated buses.

Roster and storage[edit]

2002 to 2005[edit]

The series 7400-7499, 7500-7619, 7620-7881 was built and delivered between 2002-2005 and runs with a Detroit Diesel Series 50 exhaust gas recirculation engine. Some noticeable modifications would be the removal of the stop request strips which were mounted on the walls. Because of the engine, there is a raised middle seat in the very back row and the fleet came pre-equipped with UWE connectors, which allow the bus to be stored outside rather than inside a garage where the line connected to the bus supplies the bus with heat, to keep the interior and engine warm. Several complaints included frequent breakdowns; rear doors closing slowly; a poor power-to-weight ratio, requiring a lot of effort during acceleration; and a tendency to pollute a bit more than later models.

Eglinton had the 7400-7549, 77xx-78xx batch when delivered, while Arrow Road had 7550-7699 delivered and Birchmount received some 78xx buses when they came in service. The series is now split with Birchmount with 201 units and Eglinton with 281 units each.

In August 2010, bus 7794, operating on route 92 Woodbine South, struck a 17-year-old youth who was killed when he was run over. It was last seen in December 2010 on 87 Cosburn and renumbered to 7882 in July 2011.[9] On August 30, 2011, unit 7461 crashed into a crane on Lawrence Avenue just east of the Don Valley Parkway while on route 54 Lawrence East. At least 11 people have been injured with one person dead. An Eglinton operator faces intoxication charges with criminal negligence causing death and possession of cannabis. He was relieved September 1.[10][11]

All the 2002-2005 Orion VII buses will be retired by 2017-2018 as said in the Toronto Transit Commission bus fleet. However, 200 buses are set to be sold to the Metropolitan Transit Authority in New York City to help out supplement their bus fleet when the L train gets cut from Manhattan beginning in 2019.

2006 to 2007[edit]

7900-7979 and 8000-8099 were built and delivered between 2006 and 2007 as clean diesels running Cummins ISL. Those are nearly identical to the previous batch, but with a few key differences. These buses feature a new engine, different and more natural sounding exhaust note, are mostly equipped with bike racks, have a lack of raised middle seat in the very back row (thanks to the new engine), are considerably more powerful, and have a better power-to-weight ratio leading to better and smoother acceleration. The front doors have two top windows slighter in length, while the rear doors close quickly, and have LED lights as well. These are also the first buses having no UWE connectors differed from the first three batches.

The 8000-series buses run on an EPA 2007 Cummins ISL engine with ULSD engine, and has a different vent.

Another set of 150 buses built in 2006, 1000-1149, are Diesel-Electric hybrids run on Cummins ISB engine and a BAE series hybrid. Performance is superb with quick acceleration and a very smooth ride. The sound the electric motor makes is often compared to that of a jet plane. They came with lead-acid batteries, but were converted to Lithium-ion batteries for $65,000 per bus, with unit 1062 used as a prototype for conversion and which had had a square battery cover. 1116 used that rounded cover but the entire series were completely converted between 2008-2010. Wilson had 180 diesels; now Arrow Road and Queensway have the entire batch of 180 clean diesel buses. The diesel-electric hybrids were delivered to Arrow Road, but are now split: Mount Dennis carries 74 units and Malvern runs 76 units.

Orion VII Next Generation: 2007-2010[edit]

In 2007, delivery of 224 new Hybrids commenced. These were of a new design of the VII called the "Orion VII Next Generation". The buses were delivered in 2007-2008 and numbered 1200-1423. As these were the first NGs produced, they suffered from mechanical problems that led to them being out of service frequently. At the same time, the TTC ordered 150 additional Orion VII NGs, numbered 1500-1689. Three buses suffered fires, namely 1256 which retired in April 2013, 1517 which was retired due to arson and 1671 at the garage in May 2011.

The 2009 order, 1700-1829, had improvements from the previous models, such as a better battery design.

The 2010 order, 8100-8219, was supposed to be a hybrid order, but the TTC changed it to diesel because of the system's experiences with hybrids (frequent breakdowns and not enough fuel efficiency; the HEVs were meant for constant stop-and-go service, which the TTC lacks in terms of bus routes.). The first two buses carry the older doors, while the rest of the fleet carry the EPA 2010 style doors, only the rear door to be taller.

Orion VII Third Generation: 2011-2012[edit]

Due to the EPA 2010 requirement in effect, the buses produced after 2011 were built to that standard. The 2011 and 2012 order has several improvements based on the second generation VIIs. Differences between the Second and Third generations were: the rooftop mounted HVAC unit due to an aftertreatment system for exhaust being placed in its original position, and a crescent-shaped grille at the back.

Numbers: 8300-8396 (delivered in two batches)

These were the last batches of Orion VIIs acquired by the TTC and being replaced by the Nova Bus LFS. After this order, Orion closed and folded in 2013.

Summary[edit]

Allocation statistics as of May 2017. Years depicted rows will show year of buses built/delivered.

Garage / Division 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Total
Arrow Road 27
(7916-7919, 7921-7923, 7931, 7935-7937, 7940, 7942, 7946, 7947, 7952, 7958, 7963, 7968, 7972-7979)
45
(1203, 1205, 1232, 1238-1240, 1244, 1245, 1255, 1274, 1284, 1291, 1292, 1294, 1298, 1299, 1303, 1306, 1308, 1310-1313, 1316, 1318, 1320, 1322-1324, 1326, 1327, 1330-1333, 1335-1338, 1341, 1343, 1366, 1377, 1385, 1404)
6
(1519, 1545, 1554, 1559, 1561, 1574)
78
Birchmount 168
(7706, 7708, 7710, 7716-7793, 7795-7882)
[note 1]
91
(8100-8180, 8182, 8184-8187, 8189, 8191-8193, 8196)
259
Eglinton (Comstock) 100
(7400-7499)
120
(7500-7619)
92
(7620-7665, 7667-7705, 7707, 7709, 7711-7715, 7883)
[note 2]
312
Malvern 76
(1068-1070, 1077-1149)
64
(1204, 1206, 1207, 1211, 1214-1218, 1220-1223, 1225, 1227-1231, 1235, 1247, 1248, 1251, 1252, 1254, 1258, 1260-1263, 1266-1268, 1270, 1272, 1275-1277, 1279, 1280, 1282, 1283, 1286, 1288-1290, 1293, 1301, 1304, 1307, 1314, 1315, 1317, 1321, 1328, 1334, 1352, 1369, 1372, 1397, 1398, 1401-1403)
87
(1703-1705, 1707-1713, 1715–1731, 1733-1750, 1752-1788, 1792-1794, 1798, 1827)
227
Mount Dennis 74
(1000-1067, 1071-1076)
67
(1200, 1202, 1209, 1210, 1212, 1213, 1226, 1233, 1242, 1243, 1246, 1249, 1250, 1253, 1273, 1281, 1287, 1305, 1325, 1329, 1345, 1348-1350, 1353, 1354, 1356-1361, 1378-1384, 1387-1390, 1392-1396, 1399, 1405-1413, 1415-1423)
146
(1500-1510, 1512, 1513, 1515, 1516, 1518, 1520-1522, 1524-1533, 1535-1544, 1546-1549, 1551-1553, 1555-1558, 1560, 1562-1573, 1575-1578, 1580-1598, 1600-1657, 1662)
287
Queensway 53
(7900-7915, 7920, 7924-7930, 7932-7934, 7938, 7939, 7941, 7943-7945, 7948-7951, 7953-7957, 7959-7962, 7964-7967, 7969-7971)
100
(8000-8099)
153
Wilson 45
(1201, 1208, 1219, 1224, 1234, 1236, 1237, 1241, 1257, 1259, 1264, 1265, 1269, 1271, 1278, 1285, 1296, 1297, 1302, 1309, 1319, 1339, 1340, 1342, 1344, 1346, 1347, 1351, 1355, 1362-1365, 1367, 1368, 1370, 1371, 1373-1376, 1386, 1391, 1400, 1414)
36
(1511, 1514, 1523, 1534, 1550, 1579, 1658-1661, 1663-1670, 1672-1689)
43
(1700-1702, 1706, 1714, 1732, 1751, 1789-1791, 1795-1797, 1799-1826, 1828, 1829)
29
(8181, 8183, 8188, 8190, 8194, 8195, 8197-8219)
35
(8300-8334)
62
(8335-8396)
250
TOTAL 100 120 262 230 322 187 130 120 35 62 1569

Competitors[edit]

40-feet:

Notes: The ones marked in italics are the discontinued models.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 7794 renumbered to 7882 in July 2011 after collision.
  2. ^ 7666 renumbered to 7883 in January 2017 after collision.

References[edit]