Terminating Bombardier streetcar contract on the table, TTC says

Bombardier risks losing future contracts from the TTC for not delivering new streetcars on time.

60 cars were expected to be in operation, but only 5 rolling through city streets

Sixty new streetcars — which are built by Bombardier — were supposed to be rolling through Toronto by now, but only five are currently in service. (CBC )

Bombardier risks losing future contracts from the TTC for not delivering new streetcars on time.

Sixty of the state-of-the-art transit vehicles — which are built by the company's plant in Thunder Bay — were supposed to be rolling through Toronto by now, but only five are currently in service.  The TTC paid billions for 204 streetcars from Bombardier in 2009.

"I just want to see 10 streetcars arrive this week but that's not going to happen," TTC chairman Josh Colle said. "The commission is willing to get creative to put pressure on Bombardier to let them know how serious we are."

A staff report prepared for today's TTC board meeting outlines three options the commission is weighing.

They include "the exclusion of Bombardier from bidding on future contracts for new vehicle purchases for a specified period of time, based on poor performance related to the delivery of the new streetcars."

The report also states that it "expressly reserves the right not to award a specific contract to a company with a poor performance rating history involving the TTC," and says the TTC has the option to terminate the contract.

TTC head Andy Byford said he feels "customers understand the logic that it's better to hold Bombardier to account, it's better to have Bombardier construct better vehicles that work reliably."

In an email sent to CBC News, Marc-André Lefebvre, Bombardier's head of communications, said the company is "aware of this item on the TTC Board agenda, however we will not comment nor make any speculation on what the outcome of the discussion might be on our operations in Ontario."

In an interview, Lefebvre said Bombardier is "ramping up its production rate in September to ensure the delivery of four vehicles per month in the following months." He said that by the end of the year, Bombardier will have shipped 23 vehicles to the TTC, and that it will deliver 204 vehicles by the end of 2019.

Bombardier layoffs

  But CBC News has learned that some employees at Bombardier in Thunder Bay have lost their jobs over the company's failed attempts to meet production deadlines.

"We've replaced employees that were ineffective, we made additional investments in our tooling, in our resources and we deployed our top quality experts to the sites that are working on the project," Lefebvre said in an interview. 

Bombardier says the new streetcars it delivers will not suffer from production issues.

In a statement, the company said it has "taken a strategic step back to ensure consistent quality in every step of its manufacturing process, from its sites in Thunder Bay and Sahagún (Mexico) to its critical supply chain. While this may have caused delays, it ensures we produce the highest quality vehicles, as expected by our TTC customer and its riders."

Colle said he shares TTC riders' disappointment, adding that "they should know  the commission is doing everything we can to get (the new cars) on the road."


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