Orion Bus Industries

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Orion Bus Industries is a Mississauga, Ontario, Canada-based bus manufacturer established by the government of Ontario in 1975.

The first Orion bus prototype was developed in 1976, and the first Orion production model was manufactured in January, 1977. The company was originally known as Ontario Bus Industries (OBI) and was owned by the province of Ontario. It was (and still is) based in the city of Mississauga near Toronto. In 1982, a US assembly plant was established in Oriskany, New York. The US operation was known as Bus Industries of America (BIA).

After the introduction of the Orion I, several buses of various lengths and dimensions soon followed. Most notable was in 1989 when the Orion V heavy duty, high floor bus was introduced. This uber-successful transit bus remained in Orion’s product portfolio until 2008, but can still be found in cities across North America.

In 1995, Western Star Trucks, Inc. purchased the assets of Orion from the Province of Ontario, and renamed the company Orion Bus Industries. In July 2000, Freightliner LLC, a unit of DaimlerChrysler AG purchased Western Star Truck Holdings, and the Orion bus portion of Western Star was moved under the control of Freightliner's specialty vehicle division. Orion joins Freightliner's other North American bus manufacturing operations such as Thomas, Setra, and a portion of the defunct Metrotrans company. Orion is now part of Daimler Buses North America and today the Orion VII is available in a variety of lengths and configurations including diesel-electric hybrid, CNG and diesel and continues the tradition of exceeding industry expectations by delivering reliability and dependability – the Orion hallmark.


The Orion Product...

The Orion I (1976-1993)

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The original bus developed by Orion was a 30 footer. This model has come to be known as the Orion Model I. All Model I buses were 96 inches wide and were offered in 30, 35, and 40 foot lengths. In 1988, the first Orion transit bus specifically designed to operate on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is put into service under this model. The 30 foot Model I was produced as the CityCruiser under license from Orion by the Transportation Manufacturing Corporation (TMC) division of Greyhound. The TMC model was produced from 1979 to 1982.
Model Number Length Total Seats Model Specific Notes Additional Notes
01.501 31' 7" 31 Engine Options: Detroit Diesel 6V53N, Detroit Diesel 6V53T, Detroit Diesel 6V71N, Detroit Diesel 6V92TA, Cummins L10, Cummins L10G (CNG)

Transmission Options: Allison MT-643, Allison HT-740, Allison HT-748, Allison HTB-748, Voith D863.3 ADR, ZF ECOMAT 4HP500
Click Here for the Orion I Production List

01.502 Air Conditioned / U.S. Specifications
01.503 33 Suburban
01.504 36' 8" 39
01.505 41 Suburban
01.506 39
01.507 42
01.508 40' 7" 48
01.509 53 Suburban
01.510 36' 8" 45


The Orion II (1983-2003)

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The Orion Model II was an innovative, low-floor small bus that is designed for handicapped accessibility. Nicknamed the "Community Bus," the II was the first bus to produced a true low floor designed. It was the forerunner of today's low floor models in North America. The Orion II was available in 21-foot and 25-foot lengths. In 1987, the first Orion II ever sold to the European market was shipped to Sweden and in 1989, Ontario Bus Industries developed the first Orion II CNG powered transit bus.

Model Number Length Total Seats Model Specific Notes Additional Notes
02.501 25' 11" 26 Engine Options: Cummins B5.9, Navistar T444E (A170)

Transmission Options: Allison MT-545
Orion II Production List Coming Soon

02.502 21' 11" 18


The Orion III (1985-1989)

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The Orion Model III was Orion's attempt at an articulated bus. The III was a joint venture between Orion and Ikarus Body and Coach Building Works of Budapest, Hungary. Body shells (without doors, windows, seats, engine) were manufactured by Ikarus Bus in Hungary and delivered by ship to Montreal. They were then trucked into OBI's Mississauga Plant where final assembly took place. Toronto Transit Commission and OC Transpo were the only operators to run this model.

Model Number Length Total Seats Model Specific Notes Additional Notes
03.501 60' 66 Engine Options: Cummins NTC, Detroit Diesel 6L71TA

Transmission Options: Allison HTB748, ZF ECOMAT 5HP590
Click Here for the Orion III Production List


The Orion IV, The Peoplemover (1985-1989)

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The Orion IV was specifically designed for the Niagara Parks Commission and New York City Emergency Medical Service. These "People Movers" are one of a kind and can only be seen doing sightseeing service at Niagara Falls.

Model Number Length Total Seats Model Specific Notes Additional Notes
04.501 37' 6" 39 Motor/Tractor unit Engine Options: Ford LSG870-6003-C LPG

Transmission Options: Allison MT-643
Click Here for the Orion IV Production List

04.502 35' 6" Trailer unit


The Orion V (1989-2008)

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Starting production in 1989, the Orion Bus Industries Orion V was the true workhorse for Orion. It was offered in many different lengths and the widths. Many transit agencies in North America operate the Orion V bus today, making it the most successful product for Orion.

In 1996, a prototype diesel-electric hybrid Orion V was produced with General Electric. Another hybrid Orion V was built in 2003 using the Allison hybrid system and currently runs for Fresno Area Express. In 2008, production was underway for the last Orion V order. The order of CNG Orion Vs buses was for Sonoma County Transit.

Model Number Length Width Model Specific Notes Additional Notes
05.501 40' 8.5" 102" Engine Options: Cummins C8.3, Cummins C Gas Plus, Cummins ISM/M11E, Cummins ISL/L10, Cummins L10G, Detroit Diesel 6V92TA, Detroit Diesel Series 50/50EGR, Detroit Diesel Series 50G, John Deere 6081H

Transmission Options: Allison B400R, Allison HTB-748, Voith D863.3/E, ZF ECOMAT 4/5HP500, ZF ECOMAT 4/5HP590, ZF ECOMAT-2 5/6HP592C
Orion V Production List Coming Soon

05.502 96"
05.503 35' 7.5"
05.504 102"
05.505 32' 5" 96"
05.506 102"


The Orion VI (1995-2004)

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The Orion VI was Orion's first large scale low floor bus. It was in development since 1991 and a prototype was first produced in 1993. On the scene for full production in 1995, this bus had a lot of problems during its production that ultimately called for its production to come to a end in 2004. The prototype Orion VI hybrid electric low-floor bus was designed and manufactured also in 1995. However, The first Orion VI diesel-electric hybrid bus did not begin revenue service in New York City until 1998. There is still alot of properties operating the VI model, but the model was replaced with the partial low floor model, the VII.

Model Number Length Total Seats Model Specific Notes Additional Notes
06.501 40' 43 Engine Options: Cummins L10G, Cummins M11, Detroit Diesel Series 30 (HEV ONLY), Detroit Diesel Series 50

Transmission Options: Allison B400R, ZF ECOMAT 5HP590, Lockheed Martin HybriDrive
Orion VI Production List Coming Soon


The Orion VII (2001-Present)

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The Orion VII is the new flagship product lineup for Orion. Starting in 2001, the Orion VII is marketed as a low floor bus to the North American market. Based on the Orion VI true low floor bus design, the Orion VII has some of major enhancements to accommodate like a high floor bus model. Instead of making a true low floor, it has a step up at the rear section of the bus that provides additional passenger seats and standee capacity. In 2003, the Orion VII diesel-electric hybrid bus is introduced to the market; In 2004, the Orion VII Next (4th) Generation is launched to the market. In it's 5th generation of design, the Orion VII buses are 102 inches wide and are powered by diesel, natural gas, or hybrid electric.

Model Number Length Model Specific Notes Additional Notes
07.501 40' 10.5" Engine Options: Cummins ISB (HEV Only), Cummins ISL/9, Cummins Westport C Gas Plus, Cummins Westport ISL G, Detroit Diesel Series 50/50EGR, Detroit Diesel Series 50G, John Deere 6081H

Transmission Options: Allison B400R, Voith DIWA, ZF ECOMAT-2 HP592C, ZF ECOMAT-4 HP594C, ZF ECOLIFE
Orion VII Production List Coming Soon

07.502 35' 11"
07.503 32' 5"