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As many as 30 new streetcars to roll
along Toronto streets by end of 2015


Transit Toronto team members, including James Bow, Roman Fomin, Richard White and Robert Mackenzie were among the first passengers to ride this first Flexity in service along the 510 Spadina route Sunday, August 31, 2014. James Bow shot this view of that first car heading north along Spadina after exiting Queens Quay Loop.

The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and other media report that the TTC and Bombardier have revised the production schedule for the company to deliver its new Flexity streetcars to the TTC.

The Globe’s transportation reporter, Oliver Moore, explains that the TTC, “now expects to have 25 to 30 new streetcars operating by the end of the year, enough to cover almost three entire routes.”

According to the Globe’s Moore,

“The rollout of new streetcars ground almost to a halt after the first of the vehicles entered service last summer to much fanfare. A third streetcar turned up months later, and the fourth arrived only recently. It is not yet in service.

“Production has lagged far behind the numbers promised by Bombardier, which has been plagued by problems. Frustration at the TTC has been mounting. And commuters using old streetcars that can break down in the cold were left wondering when their new and more reliable ride would arrive.

“TTC head Andy Byford said that the problems were twofold: production was too slow and the transit agency was unable to accept the quality of some of the work done by Bombardier. He cited the fourth streetcar, in particular, as not being built well enough to meet the TTC’s standards.”

Although Bombardier has blamed a recent long strike by workers at its Thunder Bay plant for some of its failure to produce and deliver the cars in a timely fashion, Bombardier has had issues with its suppliers and other internal issues to deal with.

Moore’s article indicates that the TTC has imposed penalties on Bombardier which its original contract with the company included. The penalties result from Bombardier not meeting the delivery schedule in the contract.

The Globe says that, “According to the TTC, the new agreement with Bombardier will mean the Thunder Bay plant will produce two streetcars a month, starting in March. By the fall this should double to four a month.”

Meanwhile the Star’s transportation reporter Tess Kalinowski writes,

“There should have been dozens on the road already, but so far only three new vehicles are running on Spadina, with one other still being tested for roadworthiness. The new cars must run for 600 kilometres without problems before they’re put into regular service.”

Her article quotes TTC spokesperson, Brad Ross, who, in turn, explains, “At the end of 2015 we will have approximately 30… [That] will require Bombardier to ramp up their delivery schedule to every five days this fall, compared to every 10, which was the original schedule,”, he said.

According to Kalinowski’s article,

“Initially, delivery delays were blamed on problems with a unique, two-stage wheelchair ramp design and an eight-week strike at Bombardier’s Thunder Bay plant last year. But more recently, the company has admitted to having problems in its supply chain.

“Only 10 to 12 of the new streetcars will be housed in the mammoth Leslie Barns maintenance and storage facility when it opens on the lakeshore by the summer.”

By the end of the year, the TTC expects to exclusively operate the new cars along its 509 Harbourfront and 510 Spadina routes. The new cars will also provide most — but not all — service along the 511 Bathurst route by December. Passengers who regularly ride streetcars along the 505 Dundas route — who were also promised new cars this year — will have to wait until next year.

The new delivery schedule still requires Bombardier to deliver all 204 of the promised low-floor streetcars to the TTC by 2019, when the cars finally enter service along the 506 Carlton route.

The TTC has an option to order another 60 cars from Bombardier but contractually can wait until the company delivers its 60th car in this schedule before it decides whether to continue with that second order.

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