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And the (streetcar) winner is...

Image from Bombardier handout

Bombardier will likely build Toronto’s next-generation streetcars.

Today, the TTC released a staff report that recommends the Toronto Transit Commission award a contract worth a total of $1.22 billion to Bombardier Transportation Canada Inc. Bombardier will build 204 new low-floor light rail vehicles (LRVs), delivering the first cars in 2011. The Commission will discuss and vote on the staff recommendation at its meeting on Monday, April 27.

The TTC purchased 248 streetcars in the 1970s and 1980s and now needs to replace these aging fleets. The current cars are not accessible, are becoming less and less reliable and more and more expensive to maintain.

According to the TTC’s media release, the new LRVs will be low-floor, quieter, have air conditioning and carry almost twice as many people as the current streetcars do. The new vehicles will help reduce crowding on streetcar routes and accommodate ridership growth. The new LRVs will also have leading-edge technology for better reliability and performance.

In January 2008, the TTC issued a request for proposals (RFP) from vendors for supplying new LRVs to replace the current TTC streetcar fleet. Vendors had to submit their proposals by June 2008. After reviewing two submissions it received, the TTC determined that neither submission met either the technical or commercial requirements that the RFP outlined.

In August 2009, the Commission approved a new process to make sure the TTC could secure LRVs that met the unique needs of Toronto’s track network. The TTC invited three international car builders to meet with TTC engineers and purchasing staff to make sure that the suppliers understood the technical and commercial requirements before they submitted bids.

Staff received sealed bids in February from two vendors, Bombardier Transportation Canada Inc. and Siemens Canada Limited. Both met all commercial and technical requirements.

Staff recommend awarding this contract to Bombardier because of the base price of $993 million. The Bombardier bid factored in another $293 million for the cost of spare parts, such as wheel and axle assemblies, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, traction controller and motors, foreign exchange, escalating costs during the life of the contract and any other charges for designing the new LRVs. These costs include the goods and services tax (GST). After a GST rebate, the total expenditure will be $1.22 billion.

One of the commercial requirements of the contract includes a minimum of 25 per cent Canadian content. (Before issuing the RFP, the TTC hired a consultant to review the market and determine the highest percentage of Canadian content the TTC could achieve, while making sure that more than one proponent would bid on the contract.) Both proponents demonstrated they could achieve this target.

TTC vehicle engineers worked closely with the vendors throughout the structured multi-phase bid process to ensure that the LRVs each vendor proposed would meet the technical requirements of navigating Toronto’s current streetcar network. The staff believe that Bombardier’s proposed car will operate safely in Toronto.

If the Commission awards the contract, it will also allow for an option to buy as many as 400 more LRVs for the Transit City network.

Awarding the contract for the 204 replacement vehicles, however, depends on whether the TTC receives funding to buy the new LRVs. So far, neither the provincial or federal governments have committed to funding the new cars. Bombardier has guaranteed its bid price until June 27.

The TTC expects Bombardier to deliver a prototype vehicle in 2011. LRVs for passenger service will begin to arrive in 2012. Bombardier will deliver all 204 cars by 2018.

The TTC will also need to build a new maintenance facility for the LRVs at an estimated cost of $345 million, which is not part of this contract.

The TTC retained two fairness monitors to oversee this structured multi-phase bid process. The Hon. Coulter A. Osborne, former Associate Chief Justice of Ontario and Integrity Commissioner for Ontario, reviewed the process on commercial requirements, and Mr. Walter R. Keevil, the Chief Rail Equipment Engineer for Chicago Transit Authority, oversaw the process for technical requirements. Both fairness monitors praised the TTC for how it managed this RFP process.

You can read the TTC staff report here.

This new LRV will be the fourth generation of streetcar built for the TTC in the last 88 years, following the Peter Witt car (1921-1963), the Presidents’ Conference Committee car (PCC, 1938-1995) and the CLRV and ALRV (Canadian/Articulated Light Rail Vehicle, 1978-present and 1987-present, respectively).

One of the TTC’s predecessors, The Toronto Railway Company, built many of its own streetcars.

The Transit Toronto archives contain more information about Toronto’s streetcars here.


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