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TTC chair to Bombardier: 'I just want our damn streetcars'

Irene Preklet, 680News

Last Updated Jul 29, 2015 at 1:01 pm EDT

The new TTC streetcars built by Bombardier were filled with hype, but the delivery of the those state-of-the-art machines have been plagued by delay after delay.

In a statement on Wednesday, Bombardier said it has committed to ramping up production in September to ensure the delivery of four new streetcars per month in order to hit the 204-streetcar target pledged to the city by 2019.

But there is skepticism over if the company will actually live up to this new promise.

TTC chair Josh Colle said the proof will be when the streetcars are finally up and running.

“The true test will be when that next car arrives and what shape it’s in,” Colle said in a meeting Tuesday morning. “That’s when I’ll believe this delivery schedule. To be honest, I’m kind of sick of their excuses at this point. I don’t want any more excuses, I just want our damn streetcars.”

TTC CEO Andy Byford and Colle met with Bombardier officials in Thunder Bay last month to discuss the delays and quality problems with the city’s new streetcars.

The first vehicles of the new $1.25-billion fleet were so poorly manufactured the TTC wouldn’t accept them, fearing they’d break down.

The problems include laminate not adhering to parts and under-frames that were badly out of alignment.

Byford said he thinks there is finally a credible schedule.

“If Bombardier now lives up to this promise that they’ve made, and we think we finally have a credible production commitment from them, if they live up to that and they do move to a production position of four new streetcars every month, by the end of next year we’ll have around 70 streetcars,” he explained.

Should Bombardier fulfill its commitments, the city will have 23 new streetcars by the end of the year, 20 of which will be in service.

Toronto was slated to have 50 of the new vehicles on the streets at this time, a year after the first one launched, but there currently are only seven on Toronto roads.

“The seven that are in service right now have around a 98 per cent reliability and availability factor, so they’re very, very good vehicles,” Byford said. “We just want more of them and as the chair rightly says, we want them now. Enough excuses, lets get building and lets get delivering.”

The TTC board will discuss the future of working with Bombardier at their monthly meeting on Wednesday.

Two of the options to be considered are possible legal action against the streetcar manufacturer and excluding Bombardier from bidding on future projects.

“We will not comment, nor make any speculation on what the outcome of the discussion might be on our operations in Ontario,” a Bombardier spokesperson said. “Bombardier’s unwavering focus is to ensure quality manufacturing and honour our commitments to our customers.”

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