News / Toronto

Bombardier admits it may miss 2017 TTC streetcar delivery target

Company has told the TTC it will be a ‘challenge’ to provide a total of 70 cars by the end of the year.

Bombardier delivered a total of 30 cars by the end of 2016, and as of this week the TTC has 40 on its property. Under the terms of the deal, the company was to have supplied about 130 by now.

Andrew Lahodynskyj/Toronto Star

Bombardier delivered a total of 30 cars by the end of 2016, and as of this week the TTC has 40 on its property. Under the terms of the deal, the company was to have supplied about 130 by now.

The TTC’s much-delayed streetcar order may be headed for another setback.

After months of assurances from Bombardier that the company was on track to meet its latest delivery schedule, the Quebec-based rail manufacturer has warned the transit agency that it will now be a “challenge” to meet the target of supplying a total of 70 cars by the end of 2017.

TTC CEO Andy Byford revealed the latest trouble to the $1-billion purchase at a meeting of the agency’s board on Wednesday.

“They have said to me that the 70 by year-end is still possible, but it’s at risk and that it’s increasingly challenging,” Byford said.

“They have not ruled out that 70, I am not letting them off the hook for that 70, but they have flagged that there is a risk that we may fall a few vehicles short.”

Byford said the TTC won’t know “for another couple of months” whether the company will miss the deadline.

Bombardier delivered a total of 30 cars by the end of 2016, and as of this week the TTC has 40 on its property. Under the terms of the original deal, the company was to have supplied about 130 by now.

A Bombardier spokesperson confirmed that “in all transparency” the company told the TTC this week that the latest delivery schedule was at risk, but he described the potential delay as a “very limited, short-term issue.”

“This does not mean Bombardier will not reach its target for 2017,” wrote Marc-André Lefebvre in an email.

Lefebvre said that the company is “deploying extraordinary resources” to meet the year-end goal. Measures the company has taken include extending the work week at its Thunder Bay, Ont. plan from five to seven days, and adding resources at its other production facilities in Mexico and Europe.

The company has also chartered a large Antonov cargo plane to ship streetcar cabs from Vienna, Austria, instead of sending them by sea. Lefebvre said that each flight costs $750,000, and that all additional investments being put into streetcar production will be borne by Bombardier.

“All cards are on the table. No stone will be left unturned,” Lefevbvre said.

“We are still fully on track to deliver the entire fleet of 204 streetcars by the original contract deadline of 2019.”

The TTC ordered the accessible, low-floor streetcars in 2009 to replacing its aging fleet, but Bombardier has struggled to meet deadlines and repeatedly revised its scheduled downwards. The company is currently on its fifth delivery schedule since the order was signed.

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