Nova Bus LFS

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Nova Bus LFS
Nova Bus LFS
Years of manufacture 1995 to present
Length 40 feet, 62 feet
Width 102 inches
Power/Fuel Diesel, battery-electric, diesel-electric hybrid, or CNG
Nova Bus LFS

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.

Design history

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.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3]

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.[4]

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.[3]

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.[5]

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. With the introduction of the electrically driven MCC Eco 136E HVAC, the raised roof line and front fairing on hybrid buses was changed to the design used on the LFSe.

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
Engine Emissions Availability
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
Transmission Availability
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
Front Axle Availability
Meritor FH-946 Up to 2005
ZF RL 85 1995 to 2021
ZF RL 82 2021 onward
Rear Axle Availability
Meritor RC-26-720 Up to 2005
ZF AV 132 1995 to 2018
ZF AV 133 2018 onward
Disk brakes w/ ABS & traction control
Electric system
Volvo Bus Electronic Architecture
HVAC Availability
Carrier RF-353
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
Floor Availability
Plywood subfloor 1995 to 2008
Composite subfloor 2008 onward
Fuel tank
125 US gallon / 473L


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Demonstrator and engineering units

Below is a list of known demonstrator and engineering buses.

Fleet number Thumbnail Year VIN Engine Transmission Notes
1 1994 R3000001
  • Launch vehicle at the APTA Conference (Boston MA) in September 1994.
  • Demoed with Calgary Transit in February 1995.
  • Demoed with the STCUQ in April 1995.[6]
2 1994 R3000002 Cummins C8.3 ZF HP500
  • Demoed with the STCUQ in October 1995.[6]
3 1995 S3000001
  • Possibly demoed with SEPTA as 9901 in April 1996.
4 1995 S3000002 Cummins C8.3 Allison B400R
  • Demoed with the STCUQ in January 1996.[6]
1996 2NVYL82K9T3000021 Cummins C8.3 Allison B400R
  • Altoona test bus from September 1996 to July 1997.
  • Later received OC Transpo livery.
  • Modified with rounded corner windows and front vent by October 2001.[7]
1996 2NVYL82P1T3000039
999? 1997 2NVYL82KXV3000001
1001 Toronto Transit Commission 1001.jpg 1998 2NVYL82P3W3000001 Detroit Diesel Series 40 Allison B400R
995 1998 2NVYL82P5W3000002 Detroit Diesel Series 40E
1998 2NVYL82P1W3000031 Detroit Diesel Series 40 Allison B400R
1998 W3000170
  • Ortech Corp shaker test bus.
1998 W3000171
  • Volvo Bus test bus.
7298 Coast Mountain Bus Company 7298-a.jpg 1998 2NVYL82S2W3000172 Cummins C8.3 Allison B400R
  • Delivered in BC Transit livery.
  • CMBC demo from April 1999 to July 2000.
  • Loaned to ETS from July to September 2000.
  • Transferred to WVMT as 981 in November 2002.
1999 X3000064 Cummins Allison
1999 X3000190 Cummins ISC ZF 5HP552C
  • CTA demo.
  • Possibly used to build the trailer of the first LFS Artic prototype in 2004.
6400 (first) 1999 2NVYL82S4X3000191 Cummins ISC ZF 5HP552C
2000 Y3000087
21-201 Société de transport de la communauté urbaine de Montréal 21-201-a.jpg 2000 Y3000300 Cummins ISC ZF 5HP552C
no# 2001 13000234/13000235 none none
  • 2 unpowered shells (with CTA specs) that were to be made magnetic induction battery buses by H. R. Ross Industries for MBTA.
  • Both stored, one painted MBTA yellow.
  • Current plans to power one shell and convert to Command Post bus.
2003 2NVYL82S633000199 Cummins ISC ZF 5HP552C
2003 2NVYL82S933000200 Cummins ISC ZF 5HP552C
14401 Edmonton Transit System demo 14401-a.jpg 2004 43000048 Cummins ISL ZF 5HP552C
2004 2NVYL82U643000173 Cummins ISL ZF 5HP552C
2004 2NVYL82U843000174 Cummins ISL ZF 5HP552C
162-1 Ottawa Paramedic Service 4320-a.jpg 2005 2NVYL82V343000270
179-1 2005 2NVYL82UX53000033 Cummins ISL ZF 5HP552C
  • Displayed at OTE in April 2005.
  • Displayed at the Montreal F1 Grand Prix in June 2005.
  • Sold to Belleville Transit as 0559 in July 2005.
184-1 2005 2NVYL82UX53000081
180-1 2005 2NVYL82U753000118 Cummins ISL ZF 5HP552C
  • Displayed at APTA Conference (Dallas TX) in September 2005.
  • Displayed at APTA Conference (Anaheim CA) in May 2006.
  • Sold to Belleville Transit as 0660 in June 2006.
P1002 2005 53000128 Cummins ISL ZF 5HP552C
182-1 2005 53000157 Cummins ISL ZF 5HP552C
L176 2006 2NVYL82U563000233 Cummins ISL
L280 2006 73000027 Cummins ISL ZF 6HP552C
254-1 2007 2NVYL82UX73000035 Cummins ISL
H1 (L271-1) 2007 Cummins ISL
  • Prototype 3rd generation rear.
  • Received a roof battery rack by April 2008.
  • Received production 3rd generation rear cap by May 2013.
255-1 2008 2NVYL82U983000089 Cummins ISL
  • Displayed at OTE in April 2008.
  • Possibly displayed at the Nova Bus Plattsburgh plant site in April 2008.[11]
  • Sold to Belleville Transit as 0863 in July 2008.
2008 2NVYL82U783000091 Cummins ISL
356-1 2008 2NVYL82U883000150 Cummins ISL
  • Prototype 3rd generation rear.
  • Demoed with King County Metro in May 2008.
  • Demoed with CMBC from May to June 2008.
  • Displayed at APTA Conference (San Diego CA) in October 2008.
  • Sold to Regina Transit as 629 in early 2010.
H3 (L373) 2008 2NVYL82UX83000151 Cummins ISL Voith D864.5
  • Prototype 3rd generation rear.
  • Displayed at the Nova Bus Plattsburgh plant site in April 2008.[11]
  • Altoona test bus from June to October 2008 (with added HEV battery pack cover).
  • Received production 3rd generation rear cap and converted to CNG by March 2013.
356-2 2008 Cummins ISL9
  • Prototype 3rd generation rear.
  • EPA 2010 demo with TARC from June to July 2009.[12]
360-1 2008 2NVYL82U283000290 Cummins ISL9
  • Prototype 3rd generation rear.
  • Displayed at 2009 NYSERDA (Albany NY)
  • Sold to Regina Transit as 630 in early 2010.
358-1 2008 2NVYL82U093000001 Cummins ISL ZF 6HP554C
361-1 2008 2NVYL82U293000002 Cummins ISL Voith D864.5
456-1 2008 2NVYL82U893000019 Cummins ISL ZF 6HP554C
  • 2009 model.
  • Prototype 3rd generation rear.
  • PF2010 ATUQ demo, demoed with STM in March 2009.
  • Demoed with Calgary Transit in September 2009.
  • Displayed at STTR in October 2009.
  • Leased to CITSV as 0919 from September to November 2010.
  • Moved to the Sunwin Bus plant (Shanghai, China) in 2011 and refitted with Sunwin electric propulsion as LFSe prototype.
432-1 2009 93000061 Cummins ISL ZF 6HP554C
  • Production 3rd generation rear.
  • Flush glazing.
  • Displayed at OTE in April 2009.
  • Displayed at the Nova Bus Plattsburgh plant opening in June 2009.[13]
  • Sold to GTAA as 85-0926 in November 2011.
06/2009 4RKYL82U194000001 Cummins ISL ZF 6HP554C
  • First unit assembled at the Nova Bus Plattsburgh plant.[14]
  • Sold to GTAA as 85-0927 in November 2011.
2009 4RKYL82U394000002 Cummins ISL ZF 6HP554C
2009 4RKYL82U594000003 Cummins ISL ZF 6HP554C
2009 2NVYL82U693000309 Cummins ISL9 ZF 6HP554C
0055 2009 93000397 Cummins ISL Allison B400R
  • Production 3rd generation rear.
  • Demoed with the MTA from January to March 2010.
30-256U Société de transport de Montréal 30-256U-a.jpg 2009 93000610 Cummins ISL9 ZF 6AP1400B
  • Production 3rd generation rear.
  • Nova Bus/STM EPA 2010 demo.
2010 4RKYL82U4B4000001 Cummins ISL9 Allison B400R
  • 2011 model.
  • In blue swooping livery with LFX accessories.
  • Has early 3rd generation radiator grill (4 slits instead of 3).
  • Sold to Codiac Transit as 720 in 2012.
06/2010 4RKYL82U6B4000002 Cummins ISL9 Allison B400R
  • 2011 model.
  • In blue swooping livery with LFX roofline.
  • Has normal 3rd generation radiator grill (3 slits).
  • Displayed at NYPTA Trade Show (Albany NY) in November 2010.
  • Displayed at OTE in April 2011.
  • Sold to Codiac Transit as 721 in 2012.
2011 4RKYL82U4C4500001
  • LFS Smart Bus demo, 2012 model.
  • Full-length roof trim.
  • Sold in 2012 to GTAA as 85-1229.
4691-4692 Houston METRO 4691-a.jpg 2011 4RKYL82U8C4500003
  • Demoed with Houston Metro from September 2011 to March 2012.
  • Returned to Nova Bus.
2012 2NVYL82U4D3000706 Cummins ISL9 ZF 6AP1400B
2013 D3000896
  • CNG Demo.
Nova Bus LFS demo-2013-a.jpg

Nova Bus LFS Demo 2013-a.jpg

2013 2NVYL82U1D3000906
  • EPA 2013/4th gen rear.
  • In blue and green "squares and skyline" scheme.
  • Displayed at OTE in April 2014.
  • Demoed with Sarnia Transit.
  • Leased to Guelph Transit as 274 from 2014 to February 2015.
  • Sold to Desjardins in 2016 and customized into a mobile bank.
2013 D3000925
L840-3 2014 4RKYL82J9E4500715

Preserved units

Year Thumbnail VIN Original owner Fleet number Current owner
1996 2NVYL82K3T3000077 STCUQ/RTC 9633 Private owner
1998 2NVYL82K2V3000297 STCUM/STM 17-178 Private owner


  1. Pour un aménagement et des transports favorables aux jeunes. March 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Tison, Marc. "Nova Bus: la lente ascension de l’autobus à plancher bas." La Presse, 02 November 2019.
  4. "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.
  5. Nova BUS Unveils 2nd Generation of LFS Buses at UITP Congress (Press release). Nova Bus. 26 May 1999. Retrieved on 13 January 2009.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 RTC Québec List. Retrieved on 1 May 2009.
  7. Older NovaBus LFS Demo Spotted. Retrieved on 05 July 2010.
  8. Maintenance Training RTS. Retrieved on 05 July 2010.
  9. Edmonton Transit System NovaBus LFS Trial. Retrieved on 05 July 2010.
  10. Brampton new bus order, Not NFI this time..... Retrieved on 05 July 2010.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Heath, Dan (17 August 2008). Governor announces Nova Bus plant for Plattsburgh. Press Republican. Retrieved on 05 July 2010.
  12. A Nova among Gilligs. Retrieved on 05 July 2010.
  13. Nova Bus' Plattsburgh Plant Officially Open (Press release). Nova Bus 15 June 2009. Retrieved on 05 July 2010.
  14. Heath, Dan (13 June 2009). Nova Bus plant in operation. Press Republican. Retrieved on 05 July 2010.
Nova Bus
LFS Transit · LFS Suburban · LFS Shuttle · LFS HEV · LFS Natural Gas · LFSe · LFSe+ · LFS Artic · LFX
RTS-06 · RTS-06 WFD
Classic TC40-102N · TC60-102N