OFF THE RAILS
TTC’S new streetcars are experiencing significant technical failures — way ahead of schedule
The reliability of the TTC’s new streetcars has declined in recent months, and transit officials now believe the Bombardier-made vehicles will miss a key performance target spelled out in the vehicle contract.
Statistics in the latest edition of TTC CEO Andy Byford’s monthly report indicate that as of April, the mean distance the streetcars travelled before experiencing significant technical failures was 5,530 kilometres. That’s much lower than the more than 16,000 kilometres between incidents recorded in February.
Under the TTC’s contract with Bombardier, by the time the 60th car is delivered the vehicles are supposed to travel 35,000 kilometres without defects. After repeated delays to the order the TTC now has 37 new streetcars available for service, and the 60th is scheduled to arrive in November.
In an email, TTC chief streetcar engineer Greg Ernst acknowledged that under those timelines “it is not possible” for the cars to reach the reliability target by the 60th vehicle.
“Since the (streetcar) program has experienced several problem months with reliability, it will take several more good months to pull the overall average back up to the required level,” Ernst wrote. “Bombardier and its suppliers are working diligently to improve on fleet reliability.”
The TTC defines a “failure” as a problem with the cars that causes a disruption in service of five minutes or more, or requires the car to be taken out of service altogether.
An old and new TTC streetcar pass each other on Queens Quay.