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TTC streetcar delays could mean more buses on streetcar routes

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Apr 26th, 2016

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The issues facing Toronto’s 502 and 503 routes are indicative of the ongoing problem the TTC faces caused by Bombardier’s failure to deliver new streetcars on time, says TTC spokesman Brad Ross.

Back in January, the 502 Downtowner and 503 Kingston Road routes had to be converted from streetcars to buses because the city simply didn’t have enough reliable cars to run the route. Four months later, those routes continue to be serviced by buses, and while they could get streetcars temporarily in the summer as cars are moved because of construction on St. Clair Avenue, the routes will likely be bus routes again come September.

“This is a symptom of the ongoing issues caused by the Bombardier delays,” Ross said Monday.

The city ordered 204 streetcars from Bombardier back in 2009, and the Quebec-based company had promised to deliver the last of them by the end of 2019. But by the end of 2015, only 17 of the promised 70 vehicles have been delivered. After promising to deliver 37 streetcars in 2016, they revised that estimate to just 16 cars in a news release Monday morning.


Related stories:

TTC says Bombardier will miss streetcar delivery deadline, again

TTC’s 17th new streetcar now in service after tug of war with Bombardier

TTC to get estimated $850 million of federal budget’s transit money


“While making the necessary adjustments for added manufacturing capacity and to significantly accelerate production for the duration of the project, the delivery schedule for 2016 will need to be adjusted,” said Bombardier head of communications Marc-Andre Lefebvre. “Therefore, we will deliver in 2016 a total of 16 vehicles to the TTC.”

Bombardier has blamed the delays on labour and parts issues at various Bombardier plants. Benoit Brossoit, new Bombardier Transportation Americas President, says the company plans on adding capacity to accelerate the pace of delivery.

“At least this new guy is at least giving me the worst-case scenario, rather than being hopelessly optimistic or trying to be heroic in the promises that are made,” TTC SEO Andy Byford said Monday.

The TTC has filed a claim of $51 million against Bombardier for the delays. Ross says the city is spending $34 million on repair and maintenance required to keep the existing streetcar fleet beyond their expected service life.

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