Nova Bus LFS
|Years of manufacture||1995 to present|
|Length||40 feet, 62 feet|
|Power/Fuel||Diesel, battery-electric, diesel-electric hybrid, or CNG|
The Nova Bus LFS is a North American, low floor transit bus. Introduced in 1994, the design provides a level entry without steps for passengers with limited mobility. The LFS has evolved over four generations and includes articulated, hybrid, natural gas, and electric model derivatives.
First generation (1995-1999)
As accessibility to the disabled became a priority in the early 1990s, the Association du transport urbain du Québec (ATUQ) formed a committee concerning the design of a low floor bus. Nova Bus signed a technology transfer agreement with Den Oudsten Bussen. A 1992 Den Oudsten Alliance City (B90) bus was imported to Québec for evaluation. Nova Bus used the B90 as a basis for the LFS's design and built two prototypes in 1994. One was used for demonstration and one was used for testing and validation. The LFS made its debut at the 1994 American Public Transportation Association conference.
Production began in 1995, with the first buses delivered to the Société de transport de la communauté urbaine de Montréal in 1996. The buses entered service in December 1996 on routes 14, 27, 47 and 51. These buses were part of an order placed by the Association des transporteurs urbains du Québec on behalf of its member agencies on July 6, 1993.
The LFS stood out in North America with its sloping front and large single-piece windshield, two features that are more commonly found on European buses. Another defining characteristic were the bus's large round headlights. Early LFS buses built up to Laval's unit 9605 (late 1996) had a curved elliptical recess that could function as a fresh air vent. The original Nova Bus logo (simply a "Nova BUS" wordmark in the Memphis typeface that was used until 2002) appeared under the windshield.
To ease maintenance, the LFS used easily replaceable thermoplastic skirt panels along the lower sides of the bus, an area prone to wear. They were almost always grey so they do not have to be painted and Nova only need produce panels in one colour. Disney Transport was the first to request these panels be painted, and other agencies followed as production entered the 2010s.
The LFS was initially available in a full low floor configuration. It had a low floor toward the middle of the bus where the aisle would slope up slightly. The seating in the rear half was on elevated platforms. A partial low floor configuration with a step before the rear wheels up to a high floor section was soon made available. Because of the intrusion of the rear wheel housings, there usually is a pair of seats facing forward and a pair facing backwards on top of them, a rarity in the North American bus market.
To achieve the full low floor to the rear, the LFS used ZF portal axles and a T-drive powertrain offset to the left of the rear. The engine's cooling system was mounted above the engine. This is a similar configuration to the Orion VI. This also allowed for the possibility of a third door behind the rear axle, however no LFS were produced with this configuration. In order to save space, Nova Bus decided to use the smaller 8.3 litre Cummins engine.
The radiator access door on the rear and adjacent window were flush with the body. The rear destination sign was incorporated into the window. The windows along the sides of the bus had squared-off corners and could be specified with either sliding sashes or tip-in transoms. The front and rear doors could be specified in two widths, both of which were wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. A telescopic or flip-out ramp was available at either door.
Second generation (1999-2009)
In 1999 at the UITP Congress, Nova unveiled the second generation LFS. Improvements included a stainless steel frame, a multiplex electric system, and an electronically controlled engine.
Between 1999 and 2000 there was a gradual shift in the exterior look of the LFS. Starting mid-1999 with the Chicago Transit Authority prototypes, gasket sealed windows with rounded corners replaced the earlier square passenger windows. By 2000, round tail lights (either small or large) became the norm, replacing the square tail lights inherited from the Classic model. Finally, by mid-2000 with the production CTA buses, the rear panel of the bus was simplified with a gasket sealed window and a separate, obtrusive rear destination sign. These changes, intended to reduce the costs of construction of the CTA order, were soon adopted for all production buses.
The fully low floor option was dropped in 2005. All LFS buses since have a high floor section just after the rear doors.
In 2008, the headlight clusters of the LFS were redesigned, moving the lights further to the edges of the bus. The standard halogen headlight or dual projector headlights could be specified. This was likely a response to BC Transit's modifications which had the headlights stacked vertically to address visibility concerns with bike racks. A horizontal decorative slot was also added to the front panel between the headlights. It must however be noted that until April 2009, most Québec buses were delivered with the old headlight configuration.
Beginning with Coast Mountain Bus Company's first LFS order, an option for a "1/3 2/3" front door configuration was made available. This option is as wide as the wide door option, but the forward leaf would be the size of the narrow door option. The front leaf can be controlled independently.
Third generation (2009-2013)
A new rear design debuted in 2007. The engine is mounted longitudinally at the centre of the rear, as opposed to the offside, with the cooling system mounted high (above the rear window). This rear engine placement became standard in early 2009.
The taillights were stacked vertically in a red bezel stretching from the top to the bottom of the bus. The rear design was slightly altered for production buses with the tail light bezel ending above the reversing light with replaceable corner panels. Customers could also choose alternate colours to red for the area around the tail lights. They could further specify smaller tail lights as seen with Greater Sudbury Transit and Thunder Bay Transit's 2009 orders.
Nova introduced flush mounted windows as an option in early 2009. BC Transit's unit 9370 was shown at the CUTA Trans Expo 2009 in Montreal, Québec as the first production unit to feature these windows. Two years later, flush-mounted window retrofit kits became available through Prevost Car.
An L-shaped exhaust pipe with Venturi tip was introduced on later EPA 2007-compliant buses. The tip, which had a bulge before it flared out at the end, was designed to mix and cool the hot exhaust gas from the engine with air. EPA 2010-compliant buses received an updated exhaust tip which flares out to the end as well as more gradually in the opposite direction.
The horizontal slot in the front panel of the bus was dropped mid-2010 from Plattsburgh-built buses starting with the first batch of buses for Calgary Transit. Late in 2010 the plain front panel also became standard for buses built in St-Eustache.
Changes were made to the interior as well. Stanchion design became less rigid and curved towards the ceiling instead of being stopped by the horizontal grab rail. New finishes were introduced which included matte grey coated stanchions, black textured walls, and transparent or frosted modesty panels. The seating above the engine (and over the middle wheels and fuel tank on the Artic) is proprietary to Nova. The sitting area is molded thermoplastic, initially in the style of American Seating's 6468, now in the style of their InSight model.
A new interior, designed by Montreal-based firm Alto Design, was introduced at the 2011 APTA EXPO. It features an asymmetrically laid out ceiling with the subtraction of the standard base lights on the driver's side and introduction of a low profile channel that hugs the ceiling and wall above the windows to provide air flow. In addition to the LED cabin lights above the seats, there is an option for LED crossbar lighting above the aisle which can be dimmed. The anchors for the stanchions and grab rails uses a modular molded assembly. The partition behind the driver was made lighter and thinner, yielding more room for the driver and the passenger behind. The front wheel housings now have a stainless steel protective panel on the area most prone to wear. In an effort to ease cleaning, the area where the wall meets the floor is smooth and the anchor points for the seating are covered. A frosted, patterned modesty panel may be specified after the rear door and illuminates when the door opens. At the request of customers, Nova added an option to not have a rear window. To offset for the loss of light, there is an option for transparent emergency hatches. Some of the first customers of the new interior included Saskatoon Transit, Grand River Transit, and the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority in 2012.
Fourth generation (2013 onwards)
At the end of 2012, Nova introduced a new rear design for the LFS. The launch of the new rear was coincident with the introduction of EPA 2013-compliant engines. The LFS Natural Gas was introduced with the new rear design. The bodywork was continued from the radiator housing and then raised to cover the CNG tanks. On hybrid buses, the bodywork was raised right from the rear, over the radiator housing, and extended to cover the batteries. Niagara Falls Transit and the Guelph Transit Commission were among the first to take delivery of standard, diesel-powered LFS buses with the new rear in 2013.
The engine door was made larger and more resilient. The radiator compartment was made flush with the body with the access door separated from the grill. Polyolefin is used for the corners and rear light assemblies to make these areas more resilient. The rear of the prototype had individually recessed tail lights in a slightly angled alignment. Production buses have a more vertical alignment and a recessed area that encompasses all of either small or large tail lights.
Beginning with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority's first LFS and LFS Artic orders, customers can choose to have the rear seats, as well as those over the fuel tank and middle wheels of the Artic, match those used throughout the bus. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority did so beginning with their 2014 order. In addition, they specified a symmetrically laid out ceiling with the previous ducting/advertisement rack design used. Stanchion attachment to the ceiling also used the previous design.
By late 2014, a new optional LFX-style front fairing was used on buses. With a taller sweep and more developed surface, it better complimented the design of the upper rear. It, along with the revised raised roof line option, better integrated with the rear as well. On hybrid buses, the roof line on either side of the batteries was raised slightly to fully cover them.
At the request of operators, including the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Nova Bus moved the B-pillar back, behind the driver, on the closed side to improve visibility. The profile edges of the driver's window are also thinner. In the Spring of 2018, the Société de transport de Sherbrooke became among the first agencies to take delivery of buses with the new window arrangement. At this time, it is optional with the original window as standard.
|Length: 40' / 12.2m|
|Width: 102" / 2.6m|
|Height: 126" / 3.20m (4th gen rear), 124" / 3.15m (3rd gen rear), 123" / 3.12m (original rear)|
|Wheelbase: 244" / 6.20m|
|Turning radius: 40' 10" / 12.45m|
|Cummins C8.3 8.3L, 250 hp||1995 to 1998|
|Cummins ISC 8.3L, 250 hp||EPA 1998, EPA 2004||1998 to 2004|
|Cummins ISL 8.9L, 250 or 280 hp||EPA 2004, EPA 2007||2004 to 2010|
|Cummins ISL9 8.9L, 250 or 280 hp||EPA 2010, ODB13, GHG14, ODB16||2010 to 2017|
|Cummins L9 8.9L, 250 or 280 hp||GHG17||2017 onward|
|Detroit Diesel Series 40E||1996 to 2004|
|Allison B400R||1995 to present|
|Voith D864.5||2005 to 2017|
|Voith D864.6||2017 onward|
|ZF 4/5HP500||1995 to 2001|
|ZF 5/6HP552C||2001 to 2007|
|ZF 6HP554C||2007 to 2010|
|ZF 6AP1400B||2010 onward|
|Meritor FH-946||Up to 2005|
|ZF RL 85||1995 to 2021|
|ZF RL 82||2021 onward|
|Meritor RC-26-720||Up to 2005|
|ZF AV 132||1995 to 2018|
|ZF AV 133||2018 onward|
|Disk brakes w/ ABS & traction control|
|Volvo Bus Electronic Architecture|
|Mobile Climate Control||1995 to present|
|Mobile Climate Control Eco 136e||2020 onward|
|Mobile Climate Control Eco 353||2011 onward|
|Thermo King Athenia||2010 onward|
|Thermo King LRT||Up to 2010|
|Plywood subfloor||1995 to 2008|
|Composite subfloor||2008 onward|
|125 US gallon / 473L|
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- Citibus - Lubbock, TX (second hand)
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- CrimsonRide (operated by First Transit) - University of Alabama, AL
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- Duke University Transit - Durham, NC
- Escot Bus Lines - Tampa Bay & Orlando, FL (second hand)
- Greater Cleveland RTA - Cleveland, OH
- Hampton Roads Transit - Norfolk/Virginia Beach/Newport News, VA
- Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation - Indianapolis, IN (second hand)
- Kenosha Transit - Kenosha, WI (second hand)
- Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) - Knoxville, TN
- Krapf Group - West Chester, PA
- Maryland Transit Administration - Baltimore, MD
- Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) - Memphis & Shelby County, TN
- Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) - Houston & Harris County, TX (demos)
- Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) - New York, NY
- New York University (operated by Coach USA) - New York City, NY
- Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA-Metro) - Buffalo, NY
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- Orlando All Trans - Orlando, FL (second hand)
- Philadelphia International Airport shuttle (operated by Coach USA then First Transit) - Philadelphia, PA
- Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA) - Rochester, NY
- Rutgers University (operated by Academy Bus Lines) - Newark, NJ
- Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District (MTD Santa Barbara) - Santa Barbara County, CA
- Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT) - Ithaca & Tompkins County, NY
- TheBus - Honolulu, HI
- Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA) - Toledo, OH (second hand)
- Transport of Rockland (TOR, operated by Coach USA) - Rockland County, NY
- University of Colorado Buff Bus - Boulder, CO
Demonstrator and engineering units
Below is a list of known demonstrator and engineering buses.
|Year||Thumbnail||VIN||Original owner||Fleet number||Current owner|
- Pour un aménagement et des transports favorables aux jeunes. March 2010.
- MÉMOIRE DES DÉLIBÉRATIONS DU CONSEIL EXÉCUTIF SÉANCE DU 31 MARS 1993.
- Tison, Marc. "Nova Bus: la lente ascension de l’autobus à plancher bas." La Presse, 02 November 2019.
- "Dawn of a New Era in Public Transit: the STCUM's First Nova LFS Buses Are Ready for Service." Press release. STCUM, 18 December 1996.
- Nova BUS Unveils 2nd Generation of LFS Buses at UITP Congress (Press release). Nova Bus. 26 May 1999. Retrieved on 13 January 2009.
- RTC Québec List. busfanplace.com. Retrieved on 1 May 2009.
- Older NovaBus LFS Demo Spotted. cptdb.ca. Retrieved on 05 July 2010.
- Maintenance Training RTS. chicagobus.org. Retrieved on 05 July 2010.
- Edmonton Transit System NovaBus LFS Trial. kevinsbusrail.com. Retrieved on 05 July 2010.
- Brampton new bus order, Not NFI this time..... cptdb.ca. Retrieved on 05 July 2010.
- Heath, Dan (17 August 2008). Governor announces Nova Bus plant for Plattsburgh. Press Republican. Retrieved on 05 July 2010.
- A Nova among Gilligs. bustalk.info. Retrieved on 05 July 2010.
- Nova Bus' Plattsburgh Plant Officially Open (Press release). Nova Bus 15 June 2009. Retrieved on 05 July 2010.
- Heath, Dan (13 June 2009). Nova Bus plant in operation. Press Republican. Retrieved on 05 July 2010.