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The Flyer Industries D901 Series Bus

by James Bow, revised by Jelo Gutierrez Cantos

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Welcome to the 1980s

Fresh from its success with the D800 series, Flyer Industries announced in 1978 a redesign of their earlier bus, to provide a more modern look, wider front doors for improved accessibility and possible wheelchair lifts, and the option of air conditioning. This series of buses was christened the D900. It featured more squared-off edges and a flatter front end. It had new rectangular headlights and a new windshield with the close side tilted inward. The front door was wider than on older Flyer models in order to provide adequate space for installing a wheelchair lift. The model was revised in 1981 as the D-901. It can be distinguished from the D900 as the windshield wraps around the edges of the bus. The D-901 was also available with the option for air conditioning. Another version of the D901 was the D-902, built for San Francisco MUNI that contained a number of design revisions such as wider door windows.

Flyer has built the E-901A and E902 trolley buses built for Translink in Vancouver. So far, they were never operated in Toronto.

TTC took delivery of 107 D-901s in late 1981, numbered 8380-8486. They were evenly split between divisions including Queensway, Danforth, Eglinton and Arrow Road. They were a common sight on 25 DON MILLS, 32 EGLINTON WEST and 34 EGLINTON EAST. The last ten buses of this order (8477-8486) were equipped with air conditioning, special extra-comfortable seats and an enhanced public address system for use on the Toronto Grey Line Sightseeing service. The air conditioning was shut off when they ran on regular TTC routes.

The TTC ordered an additional 198 D901s in 1985. Buses 6000-6204 were delivered over the next year. These differed from the earlier D901s as they offered power steering and improvements to the driver’s area and the front doors. These were assigned to Queensway, Danforth and Arrow Road.

At Twenty Years of Service

In 1998, the TTC took delivery of the Nova-built RTS series of buses. At this time, half of the TTC’s fleet of 1981-built D901s were retired, while the remainder were restricted to rush hour service, or filling in as streetcar shuttles during track reconstruction. These remaining buses held on until the New Flyer Industries D40LF series buses were delivered, later in 1999.

As for the 1985 series, these continued operating into the new millennium, assigned to Queensway, Arrow Road and Malvern garages. Starting in 2004, these buses were retired, replaced by arriving Orion VIIs. The last units, numbers 6068 and 6133, were retired in September 2007. Bus #6104 was rescued from the scrap heap and purchased by the Belka Enrichment Centre for use as a mobile learning facility.

Condensed D-901 Roster:

  • 8380-8476 - FIL D-901 - Delivered 1981, retired 1998-9
  • 8477-8486 - FIL D-901-SS - Delivered 1981, retired 1998-9 (Sightseeing buses also used by Grey Line Tours)
  • 6000-6122 - FIL D-901 - Delivered 1985, retired 2003-7
  • 6130-6204 - FIL D-901 - Delivered 1986, retired 2004-7


  • Model Name: D901-10240
  • Numbers: #8380-#8476 (1981 models), #8477-#8486 (1981 models, Air conditioning), #6000-#6122 (1985 models), #6130-#6204 (1986 models)
  • Length: 40’
  • Width: 102”
  • Seats: 39: Otaco Model 6468
  • Engine: Detroit Diesel Series 6V71N, 181 hp
  • Transmission: Allison V730 3 speed (#8380-#8486, #6000-#6122), Allison V731 ATEC 3 speed (#6130-#6204)
  • Destination Sign: Rollsign, later replaced with Luminator Matrix:MAX

New Flyer Industries D901 Series Image Archive

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