Tory considers more legal action against Bombardier with latest streetcar delay
Codi Wilson and Chris Herhalt, CP24.com
Published Thursday, December 15, 2016 10:03AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, December 15, 2016 5:02PM EST
Toronto Mayor John Tory is considering further legal action against Bombardier after TTC officials said Thursday they were not very confident the company will be able to deliver 204 new streetcars by the end of 2019.
After repeated delays and revised delivery schedules, Bombardier has said it will complete the obligations laid out in the $1.2-billion contract by the agreed date – but a new TTC staff report released this week suggests Bombardier is at risk of missing that deadline.
“Based on supporting documentation received to date, and staff’s assessment of production readiness of Bombardier’s Thunder Bay, Sahagun, Mexico, La Pocatiere, Quebec, and European plants, staff believe that there is a risk that Bombardier may not be able to meet its revised delivery schedule,” read the report, which will be reviewed by the TTC board next week.
In May, Bombardier released an updated schedule, promising to provide 16 new streetcars by the end of 2016 and 40 new streetcars in 2017.
In 2018, Bombardier says it will provide 76 new streetcars to the TTC and 58 in 2019. TTC staff say that works out to a rate of approximately one car every 3.3 days in 2018 and one every 4.4 days in 2019.
The TTC report says the new delivery schedule has yet to be “substantiated and accepted by the TTC” and will be need to be negotiated. It adds that “an updated report will be submitted once there is an agreed upon, realistic and binding delivery schedule in place.”
In a letter sent to Benoit Brossoit, president of Bombardier’s Transportation Americas division, Tory and TTC Chair Josh Colle say the latest delay “has caused us to request advice on further legal action we could undertake to recover additional damages for this complete failure to perform.”
“We are no longer able to sustain our current (streetcar) service levels as a result of Bombardier’s delay,” Tory and Colle wrote.
The delays have prompted the TTC to launch a lawsuit against Bombardier and the transit agency hopes to recoup a $50-million penalty for late delivery.
Colle and Tory say the delay in delivery is having an impact on the TTC’s reputation in the eyes of its customers, as streetcar problems are a frequent source of anger.
“We hear countless stories from customers who watch streetcars pass them by daily, or have to disembark a legacy streetcar because it has broken down from its old age. This happens all too often, and it happens because the new Bombardier streetcars haven’t arrived as per our agreement.”
Bombardier says its commitment to schedule 'remains strong'
Bombardier, which maintains it will reach its delivery goals, is shifting the existing Metrolinx production line from Thunder Bay to Kingston in order to increase capacity for the existing TTC assembly line.
"Bombardier has full confidence that it has deployed all of the necessary resources," the company's spokesperson Marc-André Lefebvre told CP24 in an emailed statement sent Thursday.
Lefebvre added that Bombardier has continued to improve deliveries and its commitment to the new timeline remains "strong and solid."
"As an example of this... we can confirm that the 30th car, that we had committed to deliver to TTC by the end of 2016, is leaving Thunder Bay and will arrive in Toronto next week."
TTC Chair Josh Colle told CP24 Thursday that he is "encouraged" by the changes Bombardier has made in an effort to deliver more streetcars.
“We continue to pressure them but what TTC staff are trying to alert us to is something that we have to be conscious of and cautious of,” he said.
“I hope they meet that 2019 deadline but what has been produced to date doesn’t necessarily show that they can. What I think the report highlights is the need for the board and the organization to keep pushing them and keep holding their feet to the fire.”
The TTC’s current streetcars are between 32 and 37 years old and staff say those vehicles should have already been retired.
Some of the cars in the worst condition have been taken out of service as new streetcars come in but the transit agency says it has been forced to extend the life of the remaining fleet to meet service needs.
“The risk of failing to meet streetcar service demands requires supplementing with bus service on some lines until the (new streetcar) delivery is complete,” the report adds.