Bom­bardier de­rails lat­est TTC or­der

Com­pany ad­mits it will miss tar­get dead­line in $1-bil­lion deal

Toronto Star - - GTA GREATER TORONTO AREA - BEN SPURR TRANS­PORTA­TION RE­PORTER

Bom­bardier will miss yet an­other tar­get on its trou­bled TTC street­car or­der, fall­ing at least five cars short of the 40 it was sup­posed to de­liver this year.

In a state­ment re­leased Thurs­day, the Mon­tre­al­based rail man­u­fac­turer said it will sup­ply 35 streetcars in 2017, for a cu­mu­la­tive to­tal of 65 since the or­der be­gan. The com­pany blamed the lat­est de­lay on “is­sues with the sup­ply chain.”

“This is not the re­sult we worked to­wards and this is not the re­sult we will ac­cept for our­selves and for the peo­ple of Toronto. We own this chal­lenge, and we fully in­tend to do ev­ery­thing nec­es­sary to mit­i­gate the im­pacts,” Bom­bardier spokesper­son Eric Prud’homme said.

The com­pany said it is en­act­ing “force­ful and far-reach­ing mea­sures” to im­prove pro­duc­tion, in­clud­ing open­ing up a sec­ond site for fi­nal as­sem­bly of the ve­hi­cles, which are cur­rently man­u­fac­tured and as­sem­bled at its plant in Thun­der Bay, Ont. The com­pany also said it would add ad­di­tional sup­pli­ers, and work with cur­rent con­trac­tors to in­crease their ca­pac­ity.

The 35 cars Bom­bardier is pledg­ing to de­liver this year is a more op­ti­mistic fig­ure than one pub­lished Wed­nes­day in TTC CEO Andy By­ford’s re­port to the tran­sit agency board. In that doc­u­ment, the TTC es­ti­mated Bom­bardier would de­liver just 30 cars in 2017.

In a joint state­ment, By­ford and TTC board chair Josh Colle ap­peared to ac­cept Bom­bardier’s 35-car es­ti­mate.

But they called the lat­est blown dead­line “ex­tremely dis­ap­point­ing and frus­trat­ing.”

“There should be 146 new streetcars in ser­vice to­day; in­stead there are just 45. This is com­pletely un­ac­cept­able. The TTC is hav­ing to con­tinue to use buses on street­car routes to meet rid­er­ship de­mand,” the state­ment said.

Since the TTC placed the $1-bil­lion, 204-car or­der with Bom­bardier in 2009, the com­pany has re­peat­edly blown de­liv­ery sched­ules and re­vised its yearly tar­gets down­ward four sep­a­rate times.

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est sched­ule, which Bom­bardier gave the TTC in May 2016, the com­pany was sup­posed to ramp up pro­duc­tion and de­liver 22 cars in the fi­nal three months of the year, for a to­tal of 70.

That would re­quire build­ing at least seven streetcars a month, a rate the com­pany has never achieved.

In July, Bom­bardier alerted By­ford it might not be able to meet the 2017 tar­get, due to what it de­scribed as a “very lim­ited, short-term is­sue.” It said it was “de­ploy­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary re­sources” to keep de­liv­ery on track.

Con­fir­ma­tion that the com­pany will miss the tar­get for 2017 rep­re­sents yet an­other blow for both the tran­sit agency and Bom­bardier. While By­ford has pre­vi­ously be­rated the com­pany for over­promis­ing on how quickly it could de­liver, the re­la­tion­ship im­proved last year when Bom­bardier ap­pointed Benoit Brossoit as its new pres­i­dent for its Amer­i­cas di­vi­sion.

By­ford has praised Brossoit for at least pro­vid­ing the TTC with re­al­is­tic time­lines, but the com­pany has now failed to meet even the lower bench­marks it pro­vided un­der his watch.

In its state­ment Thurs­day, Bom­bardier as­serted “it is still fully on track to de­liver the en­tire fleet of 204 streetcars” by the orig­i­nal con­tract dead­line of the end of 2019. To do so, the com­pany will have to build an av­er­age of more than 69 cars a year, twice the num­ber it says it will sup­ply in 2017.

Mayor John Tory ex­pressed what he de­scribed as his “im­mense frus­tra­tion” with the com­pany on Thurs­day morn­ing, telling re­porters at a SmartTrack news con­fer­ence that “this has got to the point of al­most farce.”

“Hav­ing said that, I think we’re tak­ing all rea­son­able steps,” he said, not­ing the TTC is su­ing the com­pany for mil­lions of dol­lars in penal­ties for late de­liv­ery. The TTC board is also seek­ing al­ter­na­tive sup­pli­ers for its next street­car pur­chase.

Tory said it would be im­prac­ti­cal to aban­don the Bom­bardier or­der at this point be­cause it would take a long time to find an­other sup­plier.

“I think peo­ple would be fool­ing them­selves if they thought we could just can­cel the Bom­bardier con­tract and move to some other per­son to­mor­row morn­ing and start get­ting streetcars by Christ­mas. It’s not go­ing to hap­pen,” he said. “We’re just go­ing to have to press for­ward.” With files from David Rider

RANDY RISLING/TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO

Bom­bardier will miss yet an­other tar­get on its trou­bled TTC street­car or­der, fall­ing at least five cars short of the 40 it was sup­posed to de­liver this year.

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