Orion Bus Industries - Bus Industries of America - 1976-present - Mississauga, Ontario, Canada & Oriskany, New York

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). 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.

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. This model was apparently produced until 1992 or 1993. 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.

Subsequent models include the following: The Orion Model II is a small low floor bus that is designed for handicapped accessibility. The Orion Model III was the Ikarus 286 articulated bus that was marketed and finished by OBI in the latter half of the 1980s. The Orion Model IV, which is usually known as the People Mover, is a unique liquid propane powered tractor-trailer vehicle that is used exclusively at Niagara Falls. It was designed by the Niagara Parks Commission. The 102 inch wide Orion Model V was introduced in 1989. This standard, high floor transit bus is available in 35 and 40 foot lengths. The Model VI was introduced in 1997 and is the low floor variation of the Model V.

The most recent significant order received by Orion is for 220 new Hybrid Electric Orion Model VII buses for New York City's MTA. This order is valued at $77 million and was placed in 2000.


Ontario Bus & Truck Industries, Inc. Mississauga, Ontario

A 30-foot 35-passenger city transit bus with a Detroit Diesel engine and Allison fully automatic transmission, the Orion was introduced to fill the gap that opened when Flxible announced the discontinuance of its similar model in order to change over to its "advanced design" models in 1978. Transportation Manufacturing Corp. will build the same bus under license and call it the "Citycruiser."


Production of all Orion V, VI and VII buses begins at the Mississauga, Ont. Canada factory where the integrated chassis/body structure for each bus is assembled. The structure is then shipped to the Oriskany, NY plant where seating, engines, transmissions, axles, electrical, heating and air conditioning systems, and other final finish components are installed. Final finish and testing of all buses is completed in Oriskany prior to delivery to the customer.



For more information please read:


Ed Strauss & Karen Strauss - The Bus World Encyclopedia of Buses

G.N. Georgano & G. Marshall Naul - The Complete Encyclopedia of Commercial Vehicles

Albert Mroz - Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Trucks & Commercial Vehicles

Donald F. Wood - American Buses

Denis Miller - The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trucks and Buses

Susan Meikle Mandell - A Historical Survey of Transit Buses in the United States

David Jacobs - American Buses, Greyhound, Trailways and Urban Transportation

William A. Luke & Linda L. Metler - Highway Buses of the 20th Century: A Photo Gallery 

William A. Luke & Brian Grams - Buses of Motorcoach Industries 1932-2000 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Greyhound Buses 1914-2000 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Prevost Buses 1924-2002 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Flxible Intercity Buses 1924-1970 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Buses of ACF Photo Archive (including ACF-Brill & CCF-Brill)

William A. Luke - Trailways Buses 1936-2001 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Fageol & Twin Coach Buses 1922-1956 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Yellow Coach Buses 1923 Through 1943: Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Trolley Buses: 1913 Through 2001 Photo Archive

Harvey Eckart - Mack Buses: 1900 Through 1960 Photo Archive

Brian Grams & Andrew Gold - GM Intercity Coaches 1944-1980 Photo Archive

Robert R. Ebert  - Flxible: A History of the Bus and the Company

John McKane - Flxible Transit Buses: 1953 Through 1995 Photo Archive

Bill Vossler - Cars, Trucks and Buses Made by Tractor Companies

Lyndon W Rowe - Municipal buses of the 1960s

Edward S. Kaminsky - American Car & Foundry Company 1899-1999

Dylan Frautschi - Greyhound in Postcards: Buses, Depots and Post Houses


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