These buses are an option for 220 hybrid buses from a contract awarded in 2005 for 330 buses. The Commission took this option in July 2006 and began negotiating with Orion for the delivery of an additional 140 (later 190) buses for 2008. Because of late delivery, an additional four buses were added to the 220 bus order.
This is the second hybrid order from the TTC, and the largest to date. It was also the first Orion VII NG order placed by the TTC, as well as the first VII NG HEV units produced. These buses were also the first ever low-floor buses stationed at Malvern, as well as their first hybrids (excluding a few 113x units borrowed from Arrow for training purposes). They are also the first hybrids permanently stationed at Wilson.
These buses also incorporated features that were found to be desired by customers. Most notably, the rear seating arrangement was reconfigured from eight forward-facing seats to six perimeter seats due to numerous complaints of lack of space on the previous VII orders. Additional stanchions and stop-request buttons in the rear section of the bus and padded seat bottoms throughout were also implemented.
These buses were delivered with bike racks and later had CCTV cameras added. Driver barriers were added to the fleet between 2009 and 2010. The original sealed lead acid (SLA) energy storage batteries were discovered to be problematic, and were replaced with lithium ion batteries starting a few months into 2009. Beginning in late 2009, the passenger windows were screwed shut, possibly due to a recall regarding the potential for the tip-in transom to fall into the bus. Two rectangular brackets installed at the bottom corner of the transom were installed to prevent this from occurring.
In late 2017, 1202, 1206, 1207, 1212, 1213, 1216, 1218, 1220, 1230, 1235, 1247 were selected as some of the prototype buses to be equipped with the new Computer-Aided Dispatch and Automatic Vehicle Location (CAD/AVL) Vehicle Information System and Integrated Operations Network (VISION) system. These buses were removed from service until Summer 2018, when buses equipped with vision system are starting to deployed. The entire series was equipped with VISION by March 2019, with the exception of retired units 1256, 1295, 1300, 1330, and 1405.
The first vehicles were delivered to Malvern, who was originally scheduled to receive the first 90 vehicles (1200-1289). However, units were not shipped in numerical order, and deliveries were soon being accepted at three divisions: Arrow Road, Malvern, and Wilson, with all units being divided between the three divisions, not in any numerical order. When Mount Dennis opened in November 2008, it received most of the lowest-kilometre hybrids, including ones from this series which was still being delivered.
Throughout the next few years, the series were slowly consolidated by 2013 so all the 1200 and the majority of the 1300 units were based out of Arrow Road, with Wilson having some units between 1375-1399, and Mount Dennis having all of 1400-1423. Wilson gave up their remaining units to Arrow Road in early 2014 upon delivery of new articulated buses. With increasing reliability issues with this series contributing to a fleet-wide bus shortage in 2014, approximately 25 broken Arrow Road units were exchanged with healthy units from Mount Dennis. 1391 and 1394-1403 were also sent to Malvern to retire 7000-7134. With the delivery of new 40 foot Nova LFS to Arrow in 2015, 2016, and 2018, various units were transferred and shuffled around between Arrow, Malvern, Mount Dennis, and Wilson divisions. Several units were temporarily transferred from Mount Dennis and Wilson to Malvern when the Nova LFS hybrids had to be pulled from service due to a mechanical failure on February 28, 2019. In March 2019, 30 units (1200, 1206-1207, 1209, 1224-1225, 1232, 1238-1240, 1244-1245, 1255, 1274, 1284, 1291-1292, 1294, 1298-1299, 1303, 1306, 1308, 1310-1313, 1316, 1318 and 1320) were temporarily transferred to Arrow; the 30 units moved back to Malvern in April 2019. In May 2019, 5 units (1200, 1206-1207, 1209 and 1224) were temporarily transferred to Arrow; the 5 units moved back to Malvern in June 2019.
By the summer of 2016, buses from this series (1206 and 1272 were the first buses noted) began the mid-life rebuild process at the TTC's Hillcrest Complex. They received body and structural repairs as well as replacement or overhaul of their systems and components. Bus 1272 was used as a testbed for a new TTC livery. After making refinements, the TTC unveiled the new LFLRV-inspired livery for buses on November 30, 2016. Rebuild and new buses moving forward were painted in this scheme. Starting in January 2019, some buses in this series (that were still originally in the CLRV livery after rebuild) were repainted into the new LFLRV livery. This program largely got put on hold from February 2019 to January 2020 when buses 1000-1149 got repainted first. As of January 2020, the program is now continuing again.
This series is currently operating out of Malvern, Mount Dennis, and Wilson divisions.
Malvern Division buses may appear on routes: 21 Brimley, 38 Highland Creek, 39 Finch East, 53 Steeles East, 85 Sheppard East, 95 York Mills, 129 McCowan North, 130 Middlefield, 131 Nugget, 132 Milner, 133 Neilson, 134 Progress, 336 Finch West, 339 Finch East, 353 Steeles, 385 Sheppard East, 395 York Mills, 903 Kennedy-Scarborough Centre Express, 913 Progress Express, 939 Finch Express, 953 Steeles East Express, 985 Sheppard East Express, and 995 York Mills Express.
Mount Dennis Division buses may appear on routes: 6 Bay, 14 Glencairn, 26 Dupont, 29 Dufferin, 32 Eglinton West, 41 Keele, 47 Lansdowne, 71 Runnymede, 77 Swansea, 79 Scarlett Rd, 89 Weston, 94 Wellesley, 126 Christie, 127 Davenport, 141 Downtown/Mt Pleasant Express, 161 Rogers Rd, 168 Symington, 171 Mt Dennis, 300 Bloor-Danforth, 312 St. Clair-Junction, 320 Yonge, 329 Dufferin, 332 Eglinton West, 341 Keele, 506 Carlton, 511 Bathurst, 929 Dufferin Express, 941 Keele Express, and 989 Weston Express.
Wilson Division buses may appear on routes: 5 Avenue Rd, 7 Bathurst, 10 Van Horne, 11 Bayview, 28 Bayview South, 33 Forest Hill, 42 Cummer, 51 Leslie, 52 Lawrence West, 56 Leaside, 61 Avenue Rd North, 63 Ossington, 74 Mt Pleasant, 75 Sherbourne, 78 St. Andrews, 82 Rosedale, 88 South Leaside, 90 Vaughan, 97 Yonge, 98 Willowdale-Senlac, 103 Mt Pleasant North, 104 Faywood, 105 Dufferin North, 106 Sentinel, 109 Ranee, 115 Silver Hills, 117 Alness-Chesswood, 122 Graydon Hall, 124 Sunnybrook, 125 Drewry, 142 Downtown/Avenue Rd Express, 160 Bathurst North, 162 Lawrence-Donway, 169 Huntingwood, 307 Bathurst, 320 Yonge, 352 Lawrence West, 363 Ossington, 508 Lake Shore, and 952 Lawrence West Express.