Orion VII. These were the new buses during my middle school years. Metro received at least 200 of these between 2010-2012 (they sold the prototype to BAE Systems for dissection and engineering ;( ). At first, it seemed that nobody was interested in these buses. Alternately, nobody was interested in a 13-year old bus freak who talks about Gilligs and New Flyers and the new Orions during Language Arts. If I could put speakers on the back of these things, I would blast out Flo Rida’s “Good Feeling” and “Wild Ones”–some of the many jams my peers on Route 128 would listen to.
Though nothing bad’s happened to me on the Orions, Metro did not have a good track record operating them. One coach ended up in an embankment shortly after being put in commission. Coach #7030 was involved in a head-on collision on July 10, 2010. Coach #7025 was involved in a fatal accident on December 3, 2015. And better yet, coach #7072 was spotted in an injury collision, causing the parallel trolley route to be delayed.
But despite all the bad things we can say about the Orions, one thing’s for sure: Y’never get away from seeing them on a regular basis. At least if you’re not in the north or east sides of King County. Anyway, Orions were supposed to be the new flagship vehicle of Metro. Orion Bus Industries shut down in the middle of 2012, and since 2014, we’ve seen New Flyer bleed a couple XDE35 and XDE40 buses here and there. Starting in 2018, we’ll see 100 new Gillig Lo-Flo’s on the east side. And don’t forget the Proterra battery electric buses Metro is testing on Routes 226 and 241.
Will the Orions be just as notorious as the Bredas? (I ponder this because Orion and Breda are European companies.) In my opinion, the sentiment of the Bredas far outweigh what the Orions will go through. Read the blog post from a neighborhood trolley bus driver to figure out what I mean.