Metro Morning

TTC boss pushing Bombardier to boost number of streetcars delivered

The head of the Toronto Transit Commission wants Bombardier to do more to ensure more new streetcars are delivered sooner rather than later.

Andy Byford says 30 vehicles by year's end is 'completely unacceptable'

The head of the TTC says the transit agency was originally expecting to have 70 new streetcars by now. (David Donnelly/CBC)

The head of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) wants Bombardier to do more to ensure more new streetcars are delivered sooner rather than later.

"Bombardier [is] very good at giving me schedules, they're not so good at giving me streetcars," TTC chief executive officer Andy Byford told CBC Radio's Metro Morning on Thursday. 

Byford has been in the news lately after he expressed frustration over yet another delivery delay of new streetcars made by Bombardier. The Canadian company has been blaming a plant in Mexico for delivering poor quality or late parts to the Thunder Bay, Ont., facility where the mass transit vehicles are produced. 

We could've had more streetcars by now if we accepted sub-optimal quality. We refuse to do that.- TTC CEO Andy Byford

"I've kind of lost count of how many schedules I've been given," Byford said Thursday. "If you go back to the original schedule, we should've had 70 by now."

As recently as last month, Bombardier was promising to have 54 vehicles delivered by the end of the year. Last week, Bombardier revised that number to 30. 

"If they can't even deliver that then we're in big trouble," Byford said, adding that he told officials that the latest figure is "completely unacceptable" and he expects it to go up when the TTC meets with Bombardier next week. 

"I thought they were kind of sheepish, actually," he said of their reaction.

Byford noted that he told Bombardier officials to do whatever it takes to get the streetcars ready, including hiring more workers or paying them for extra shifts.

TTC wants firm number

The head of the TTC said he doesn't want to see any more "heroic promises" and expects to have a "robust" number provided — one that can actually be met. 

"We could've had more streetcars by now if we accepted suboptimal quality," Byford said. "We refuse to do that."

There are two reasons for this, according to Byford. One is that if they aren't built correctly, the new streetcars will break down. Second, the TTC wants to ensure any streetcar they accept is up to their standards.

"I'm going to keep their feet to the fire."

TTC boss Andy Byford says the transit agency refuses to accept suboptimal streetcars. (CBC)

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