Metro’s 40-foot Orion VII Next Generation hybrid diesel-electric buses began carrying passengers on Monday. The restyled New Flyer articulated (DE60LFR) buses entered service a few weeks ago. Both of these buses feature the new seats we reported last month. They are low-floor and have automated stop announcements powered by GPS. These 170 Orions are the first low-floor 40-foot buses Metro has purchased since 2003.
The buses are running on routes in South King County. The Orions were spotted running on Route 128 between the Admiral District and Southcenter. The DE60LFRs can be seen on major South King tunnel routes like 101, 106 and 150. If you want to find out which buses are running on which route, you can check the status of a vehicle on OneBusAway using its coach number. The Orions are the 7000 series (7000-7169). The DE60LFRs are coach numbers 6866-6921. For example: Coach 7001 (for other coaches, change the 7001 to the desired number)
I rode a DE60LFR on Route 106 in those new seats. I really like the improved ergonomics. Unlike the old seats, I never slipped in these seats, even as the bus twisted and turned through Georgetown. The concave back fits snugly with my back and keeps it from moving sideways. The cushion was adequate. The lack of a high back didn’t stop me from taking a nap. It makes sitting sideways tolerable. Your feelings may vary.
Read Metro’s press release on the new buses for the costs, funding, and fuel savings.