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2001 Orion 5 Retirement

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31 minutes ago, GORDOOM said:

Are threads about the Orion V doomed to descend into shouting matches on unrelated topics? We’re 2-for-2 so far.

Yes

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3 hours ago, GORDOOM said:

Are threads about the Orion V doomed to descend into shouting matches on unrelated topics? We’re 2-for-2 so far.

I hope not. I'd just like to see these threads merged and cleaned up.

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On 12/31/2018 at 2:02 AM, Community Shuttle said:

Charter company or private owners. Out of all buses, they're the best for RV conversions as they were built for the highway.

Incorrect.

RV conversions want flat floors all the way throughout the coach. This is why you see many successful motorcoach RV conversions, and far, far, fewer high floor transit coach conversions that get further than "take out all the seats."

Additionally, the Series 50, while more tolerable on the freeway than putting around town, is a bit underpowered for road-tripping.

On 12/30/2018 at 5:12 PM, TTC 9701 said:

Thats what everyone said about the remaining Orion V's for GO Transit. Most ended up at Beaver. If the condition of the 2001 series is good, perhaps a charter company would be interested. CVS in Victoria comes to mind.

You're right, there is some possibility for a second life. I was overly dismissive to the early comment.

I'm a huge fan of the Orion V, in general. At one point in my life I lived somewhere that had them as the majority of their bus fleet. And they were great.

I haven't been on a CMBC unit in a long time. A really long time. But even a decade ago, or so, they were very worn and rough around the edges. I was shocked at their poor condition, given their age, at the time. Are they better now? I don't know. And I'm not sure some of the super-fans around here could give an objective answer to that question.

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Underfloor compartments on over the road coaches make housing fresh/grey/black water tanks and generators/solar charge controllers orders of magnitude easier. Converting a transit bus would be ill advised unless the buyer is a skilled fabricator and welder.

If I had a nickel for every bus in a field partially converted because the buyer didn’t realize what they were really committing themselves to, I’d be a very wealthy man indeed.

Knowing the financial black hole coach ownership is, theoretically my plan of attack would be to purchase an older, professionally converted from new motor coach shell from the late ‘80s or ‘90s, and just refresh the interior finishes. All those mirrors and rope lighting make them look like brothels.

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22 minutes ago, Bus_Medic said:

Underfloor compartments on over the road coaches make housing fresh/grey/black water tanks and generators/solar charge controllers orders of magnitude easier. Converting a transit bus would be ill advised unless the buyer is a skilled fabricator and welder.

If I had a nickel for every bus in a field partially converted because the buyer didn’t realize what they were really committing themselves to, I’d be a very wealthy man indeed.

Knowing the financial black hole coach ownership is, theoretically my plan of attack would be to purchase an older, professionally converted from new motor coach shell from the late ‘80s or ‘90s, and just refresh the interior finishes. All those mirrors and rope lighting make them look like brothels.

Always appreciate your well informed opinion around here. 

An older bus fan once told me about twenty years ago - "the first thing someone does when they buy a used bus is take all of the seats and out and throw them away. And then they realize the bus is never going to be a good RV, and don't do one more thing." 

If you really think you want to do your own conversion, you'll pick up a used MCI, not a high floor transit.

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6 hours ago, northwesterner said:

I haven't been on a CMBC unit in a long time. A really long time. But even a decade ago, or so, they were very worn and rough around the edges. I was shocked at their poor condition, given their age, at the time. Are they better now? I don't know. And I'm not sure some of the super-fans around here could give an objective answer to that question.

As someone who has driven them on a regular basis (1 to 3 times per week) over the past year and a half, I can tell you that no, they are not in good shape. Most of them still run fairly well on the highway and retain a good ride quality, but in town, you can tell that the engines are old and tired. Some of them have a great many seats that are shabby and faded (though not as bad as the seats on the D60LFs that had the same fabric). They rattle. Most of them have transmissions that either shift errantly, shift roughly or don't shift at all when you're expecting them to. Granted, a decade ago none of them had been refurbished, so the ones that have been probably look better in terms of exterior body and paint, but how they run compared to back then, I couldn't say. There isn't a whole lot of consistency in the way they run either. A few of them actually run great for their age. Most are as I've described here. Still others are just downright awful.

As a bus enthusiast, I don't like seeing these retired. As an operator who likes driving them, I don't like it either. But as an operator who also understands that our transit system has outgrown them, I think the time has come to move on. Not that I think the Novas are the ideal solution, but low floor buses will be much more user-friendly for the many seniors, wheelchair users and parents with strollers who rely on the 351 and 601 services to get around within South Delta and South Surrey, not just for a longer ride to the Canada Line.

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1 hour ago, MCW Metrobus said:

As someone who has driven them on a regular basis (1 to 3 times per week) over the past year and a half, I can tell you that no, they are not in good shape. Most of them still run fairly well on the highway and retain a good ride quality, but in town, you can tell that the engines are old and tired. Some of them have a great many seats that are shabby and faded (though not as bad as the seats on the D60LFs that had the same fabric). They rattle. Most of them have transmissions that either shift errantly, shift roughly or don't shift at all when you're expecting them to. Granted, a decade ago none of them had been refurbished, so the ones that have been probably look better in terms of exterior body and paint, but how they run compared to back then, I couldn't say. There isn't a whole lot of consistency in the way they run either. A few of them actually run great for their age. Most are as I've described here. Still others are just downright awful.

I've had other posters over in the Greyhound section say I should stop going through exercises like this because it ruins the spirit of the forum, or some other silly thing. But I'll do it anyways:

Say you're Wilsons or Cruise Victoria and you think picking up a half dozen of these is a good, inexpensive way to bolster your summer fleet. You could use them on some ship transfers, etc, and it wouldn't cost too much. 

Let's throw some numbers around - they're in USD because I think in USD (multiply by 1.3 for the rest of you) and that's the currency I knew these costs in when I was in the bus business a few years ago.

*Purchase - $3000 for the bus

*Tires - $1600 - usually these are separate

*Paint and Body - $7500 (you could maybe do it for $6000 if the body was perfect, seems unlikely)

*Upholstery - $6500 (that's fabric only. If you need to do foam that number increases exponentially) 

*Misc Other Repairs and Upgrades - $5000 (P/A system, fit and finish, etc)

So ... I'd estimate you're into it about $26,000 USD before the bus is fit to have your name on it, picking up passengers. 

And then you've still got a 20 year old bus, with a junk engine (Series 50) that could toss a balance shaft at any minute, from a manufacturer that no longer provides OEM engineering support, and a wheelchair lift that doesn't match anything in your existing charter coach fleet. 

For $36,500 USD you can call up Northwest Bus Sales and pick up a 20 year old H3-41 that would at least be a style of coach your drivers and mechanics are familiar with, most likely will have had a much more forgiving service environment in its past life, and new paint and a decent interior. You could put that coach on the road immediately, and it would be a better coach, long term. (https://nwbus.com/inventory/coach-buses-for-sale/1998-prevost-h3-41-48-passenger-coach-bus-c12526/

Is the Orion still a good deal?

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12 hours ago, northwesterner said:

I've had other posters over in the Greyhound section say I should stop going through exercises like this because it ruins the spirit of the forum, or some other silly thing. But I'll do it anyways:

Say you're Wilsons or Cruise Victoria and you think picking up a half dozen of these is a good, inexpensive way to bolster your summer fleet. You could use them on some ship transfers, etc, and it wouldn't cost too much. 

Let's throw some numbers around - they're in USD because I think in USD (multiply by 1.3 for the rest of you) and that's the currency I knew these costs in when I was in the bus business a few years ago.

*Purchase - $3000 for the bus

*Tires - $1600 - usually these are separate

*Paint and Body - $7500 (you could maybe do it for $6000 if the body was perfect, seems unlikely)

*Upholstery - $6500 (that's fabric only. If you need to do foam that number increases exponentially) 

*Misc Other Repairs and Upgrades - $5000 (P/A system, fit and finish, etc)

So ... I'd estimate you're into it about $26,000 USD before the bus is fit to have your name on it, picking up passengers. 

And then you've still got a 20 year old bus, with a junk engine (Series 50) that could toss a balance shaft at any minute, from a manufacturer that no longer provides OEM engineering support, and a wheelchair lift that doesn't match anything in your existing charter coach fleet. 

For $36,500 USD you can call up Northwest Bus Sales and pick up a 20 year old H3-41 that would at least be a style of coach your drivers and mechanics are familiar with, most likely will have had a much more forgiving service environment in its past life, and new paint and a decent interior. You could put that coach on the road immediately, and it would be a better coach, long term. (https://nwbus.com/inventory/coach-buses-for-sale/1998-prevost-h3-41-48-passenger-coach-bus-c12526/

Is the Orion still a good deal?

Unless it's a fantasy thread, I say a good old reality check is always appreciated.

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Not officially confirmed as retirements as the following coaches have not been on the road recently...9209 Dec 10, 9224 Dec 27, 9245 Nov 27, 9250 Dec 28

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1 hour ago, dover5949 said:

Not officially confirmed as retirements as the following coaches have not been on the road recently...9209 Dec 10, 9224 Dec 27, 9245 Nov 27, 9250 Dec 28

9209 and 9245 have already been confirmed retired 

9224 and 9250 have not been out for less than 2 weeks so they could just be receiving some much needed TLC down in maintenance.

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57 minutes ago, Jaymaud0804 said:

How many of these are being replaced?

It's supposed to be 23, then everything else when 32 deckers come in (right now that's 50 Orions replaced by 32 deckers).

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18 minutes ago, Express691 said:

It's supposed to be 23, then everything else when 32 deckers come in (right now that's 50 Orions replaced by 32 deckers).

Does that include the 2008 order?

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So 23 Nova Suburban replacing 23 2001 Orion V, and 27+5 Enviro 500 replacing 51 2001 Orion V? CMBC had 74 2001 Orion V to replace, and I find it hard to believe they'd cut service frequency just because buses can hold almost double the capacity.

 

There seems to be a planned 25 replacement double decker order for 2020, mentioned in both the Oct and Dec board meeting reports. The Dec report has a line in the 2019 budget for "2020 Conventional Bus Replacements" listing "Replacement of end-of-life 2001 Orion Highway coaches with 25 replacement buses", while the Oct report explicitly lists it as a replacement order with double deckers. The Dec report also lists in the budget, an entry for 2019: "Replacement of 27 end-of-life 40-foot high floor conventional buses with 27 double-decker low-floor buses", and that's the current order plus 5 expansion listed as part of another entry.

 

I'm not sure if I'm mistaken but I'd think that the 23+27+25 = 75 buses are for replacing the 74 2001 Orion V, and the 5 double deckers are for expansion. The 9 2007/2008 Orion V would probably stay. By the end of 2020 there would be 23 Nova Suburbans, 57 double deckers, and 9 Orions.

Edited by briguychau
Wrong years
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Pardon my miscalculations. There will be 74 Orions needing to be replaced. 

Given the growth on suburban routes, I do see some of the 2001s staying after the first round of replacements (32 deckers and 23 Novas), albeit not many.

Restructuring of the 503 once the Fraser Highway Articulated Service (artic 502s or the B-Line) comes in might free up some of the express fleet.

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52 minutes ago, briguychau said:

So 23 Nova Suburban replacing 23 2001 Orion V, and 27+5 Enviro 500 replacing 51 2001 Orion V? CMBC had 74 2001 Orion V to replace, and I find it hard to believe they'd cut service frequency just because buses can hold almost double the capacity.

 

There seems to be a planned 25 replacement double decker order for 2020, mentioned in both the Oct and Dec board meeting reports. The Dec report has a line in the 2019 budget for "2020 Conventional Bus Replacements" listing "Replacement of end-of-life 2001 Orion Highway coaches with 25 replacement buses", while the Oct report explicitly lists it as a replacement order with double deckers. The Dec report also lists in the budget, an entry for 2019: "Replacement of 27 end-of-life 40-foot high floor conventional buses with 27 double-decker low-floor buses", and that's the current order plus 5 expansion listed as part of another entry.

 

I'm not sure if I'm mistaken but I'd think that the 23+27+25 = 75 buses are for replacing the 74 2001 Orion V, and the 5 double deckers are for expansion. The 9 2007/2008 Orion V would probably stay. By the end of 2020 there would be 23 Nova Suburbans, 57 double deckers, and 9 Orions.

These were purchased to run much longer routes all the way into downtown Vancouver. All of these routes have been truncated at the Canada Line.

If the nature of the service has evolved substantively over the last 20 years, is there still a need for a 1:1 replacement?

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9 minutes ago, northwesterner said:

These were purchased to run much longer routes all the way into downtown Vancouver. All of these routes have been truncated at the Canada Line.

If the nature of the service has evolved substantively over the last 20 years, is there still a need for a 1:1 replacement?

It's been almost 10 years since the Canada Line opened. Lots of suburban routes have had service/frequency expansions since 2009. Except for a handful for spares and/or maintenance, pretty much every Orion is in use every day.

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The truncation of routes to Bridgeport Station did not necessarily mean cuts to suburban service from Richmond; instead, with the runs not having to go all the way to Downtown and back, the Orions were sent on more frequent runs. At the same time, small numbers of Orions have also been spread out to PoCo and Surrey. In fact, I always feel like we never ordered quite enough Orion Vs just before they shut down production... I found them to be a versatile product - a cross between highway and urban bus that we might not see again.

 

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1 hour ago, briguychau said:

It's been almost 10 years since the Canada Line opened. Lots of suburban routes have had service/frequency expansions since 2009. Except for a handful for spares and/or maintenance, pretty much every Orion is in use every day.

351 this sheet - adding 2 trips later in the PM peak highlights growth in suburban routes. 

Not to mention, other suburban services are also seeing growth - it's not just the Highway 99 routes but rather the 555 and Surrey's routes as well.

With the deckers, I think further increases on suburban routes will be based on capacity rather than frequency.

I think what is meant by "Nature of Service" is most defined in the Tsawwassen routes, especially the 601. The highway section on that is so short that you can sneak a standard bus on it with no problem.

 

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I can see high capacity buses being useful on limited peak-hour runs... But overall I would rather prefer frequency increases. When you don't have to think about when the bus comes or missing the bus... That's the start of a transit service that can get people out of their cars.

Come to think of it, I wonder if the split order between double-deck and single-deck suburban buses is the starting point for high-frequency suburban service...

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All of the controversial things I say around here, this simple, factual, statement gets four responses in two hours???

Lots of different points ... Let's break them down.

1 hour ago, briguychau said:

It's been almost 10 years since the Canada Line opened. Lots of suburban routes have had service/frequency expansions since 2009. Except for a handful for spares and/or maintenance, pretty much every Orion is in use every day.

It's great that many suburban routes have had service and frequency expansions in the decade since Canada Line opened. Essentially the routes are half as long and running twice as often.

That's good for transit service.

But at the time these buses were spec'd and ordered, they were for 90+ minute slogs from the far suburbs into Downtown Vancouver, through congested, slow, surface streets. The 351 today is a touch over an hour long, during peak, in the peak direction. That's one of the longest trip times for a route that these are regularly assigned to. The 601 is under an hour between Bridgeport and South Delta. These routes were once much, much longer and really did necessitate a suburban type coach. 

Note that I picked some of the longest routes assigned Orions to make the point about max trip time. Many of the other routes that have Orions now, but didn't a decade ago, are much, much shorter. 

And yes, all of the Orions are in use every day. Translink is short on buses, so they've found routes they can run them on, even if they aren't routes that really need this kind of equipment.

 

42 minutes ago, Millennium2002 said:

The truncation of routes to Bridgeport Station did not necessarily mean cuts to suburban service from Richmond; instead, with the runs not having to go all the way to Downtown and back, the Orions were sent on more frequent runs. At the same time, small numbers of Orions have also been spread out to PoCo and Surrey. In fact, I always feel like we never ordered quite enough Orion Vs just before they shut down production... I found them to be a versatile product - a cross between highway and urban bus that we might not see again.

 

I think the Orions would have been more versatile with a rear door and semi-suburban type setup. And yes, I agree, the service is more frequent. But do you really need a suburban configured bus on those routes?

 

43 minutes ago, Express691 said:

I think what is meant by "Nature of Service" is most defined in the Tsawwassen routes, especially the 601. The highway section on that is so short...

I was referring to total trip time, though time spent on the highway is also important.

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5 minutes ago, northwesterner said:

I was referring to total trip time, though time spent on the highway is also important.

I mean, can we just do away with suburban-configured buses altogether if the routes are so short? Perhaps just dedicate the deckers to 351/352/354 and maybe the 555.

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4 minutes ago, northwesterner said:

Note that I picked some of the longest routes assigned Orions to make the point about max trip time. Many of the other routes that have Orions now, but didn't a decade ago, are much, much shorter. 

And yes, all of the Orions are in use every day. Translink is short on buses, so they've found routes they can run them on, even if they aren't routes that really need this kind of equipment.

That's probably the reason why double deckers were ordered as replacements for a large portion of the suburban fleet. There are definitely routes which don't require suburban buses, but can benefit from the increased capacity. Alternatively, the double deckers can increase capacity on constrained "non-suburban" routes, and the 40-foot "regular" buses serving those routes can then be used to replace a suburban Orion.

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