TTC may sue Bombardier over mounting streetcar delays

The TTC threatened to sue Bombardier on Friday after the company announced it would not be able to deliver 23 new streetcars by the end of the year, as promised.

Only 16 new streetcars will be in operation by the end of the year

Bombardier informed the TTC this week that it would only be able to meet its goal of delivering more than 20 new streetcars to the city before the end of the year. (David Donnelly/CBC)

The TTC threatened to sue Bombardier on Friday after the company announced it would not be able to deliver 23 new streetcars by the end of the year, as promised.

The TTC board will consider filing a $50 million claim for late delivery of the streetcars, or may even launch a lawsuit against Bombardier, TTC chair Josh Colle announced in a news release.

"I am incredibly disappointed to learn that Bombardier, yet again, will not be meeting their commitments to deliver new streetcars to Toronto," Colle said in the statement.

"We're at the point now where anything that Bombardier tells us, to be honest, we just don't believe and so it's frustrating for the TTC but more than anything I'm frustrated for our riders," Colle later told CBC News.

Bombardier, which produces the streetcars at its Thunder Bay, Ont. manufacturing plant, has been struggling to build the 204 streetcars the TTC ordered.

Bombardier, in a statement, blamed the latest delay on issues with electrical connectors on two of the new streetcars currently in production and said it's given the TTC a revised delivery schedule. Previously, at a meeting with TTC officials this summer, the company blamed everything from changes to their production line to the intricacies of the vehicle to staffing changes. 

According to the TTC, there are only 10 new streetcars available in Toronto, when there should be 67 of the vehicles operating in the city.

By the end of 2015, the TTC said, there will only be 16 new streetcars in operation.

"We could have 60 cars here today but they would all be in the shop having to get repairs on... loose connections and walls that aren't quite straight," TTC spokesman Brad Ross told CBC News.

"They have let down the TTC, our customers, the good workers in Thunder Bay, and all Toronto residents, Colle said. "The TTC Board has lost all faith in Bombardier's public promises and ability to deliver this order."

The TTC board will consider the new sanctions against Bombardier at an upcoming meeting. 

Bombardier, meanwhile, said it plans to extend its production hours to speed up the work and said it "regrets" disappointing the TTC and its riders. 

The TTC signed a $1.2 billion contract with Bombardier for 204 streetcars in 2009.

All the vehicles are supposed to be delivered by 2019.


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