Bombardier misses another streetcar delivery deadline, blaming 'supply chain issues' for latest delay

In a statement to CBC Toronto on Thursday, Bombardier says only 63 streetcars are slated for delivery — well short of the company's initial target stated in a December 2016 staff report of 145 vehicles by 2017.

Employees expected to work over holidays, but still not on track to complete 2017 quota

When the city awarded Bombardier a $1-billion contract in 2009, it came with the expectation of 145 shiny new streetcars by the end of 2017. The company said Thursday it will deliver only 63. (David Donnelly/CBC)

Montreal-based manufacturer Bombardier will miss yet another deadline to beef up Toronto transit lines with long-awaited new streetcars, a company spokesperson has said.

The company was projected to deliver 65 streetcars to the Toronto Transit Commission by the end of year, but recently revised that down to 64. In a statement to CBC Toronto on Thursday, Bombardier says only 63 streetcars are slated for delivery — well short of the company's initial target stated in a December 2016 staff report of 145 vehicles by 2017.

Production plants in Kingston and Thunder Bay will remain open over the holiday season in an attempt to fulfil the quota.

"We are working over the holidays to honour our commitment," Bombardier spokesperson Eric Prud'Homme told CBC News. "We've confirmed to the TTC that we are mitigating issues in our supply chain."

Pattern of delays costing TTC millions

Bombardier has blamed previous setbacks on faulty parts from its supplier in Mexico, labour trouble, the intricate nature of the new streetcars and staff changes.

Mayor John Tory said in October the constant delays have become a "farce." Since the city awarded Bombardier a more than $1-billion contract in 2009, the company has repeatedly missed its delivery targets. 

The situation became so vexing for the TTC that it sued Bombardier in 2015.

In 2016, after multiple revised delivery schedules from Bombardier, the transit operator requested $34 million to repair Toronto's aging fleet, unexpectedly still in commission.

Bombardier's ratcheting down of targets has forced the TTC to use buses on streetcar routes to meet ridership demand, transit officials said in October.

Bombardier says it's making improvements

Bombardier defends its production rates, saying it has "more than doubled the rate of deliveries" since last year.

"With the investments we made, we've steadily ramped up production like we said we would," Prud'Homme said in a statement. "This has helped us this month to deliver our highest monthly number of cars, with seven streetcars being shipped out of Thunder Bay."

Prud'Homme noted that Bombardier executives recently met with key suppliers to "demand corrective measures to improve performance and accelerate deliveries."

On Friday morning, TTC spokesperson Brad Ross emailed a brief statement to CBC Toronto about the latest missed deadline.

"We remain frustrated and disappointed by these unacceptable delays," Ross said.

Metrolinx makes cuts to Bombardier deal

On Thursday, Metrolinx announced it was slashing its order from Bombardier as part of a revision to the $770-million deal.

The manufacturer, originally tapped to deliver 182 light rail vehicles to Metrolinx, will now assemble just 76 for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT system.

Metrolinx also promised steep fines for Bombardier if the company fails to deliver on time.

In November 2016, Metrolinx filed a notice of intent to cancel the multimillion-dollar contract with Bombardier, alleging that the transportation manufacturer had missed critical deadlines for the project. However, Bombardier successfully filed an injunction allowing them to keep the Eglinton Crosstown contract.