The head of the TTC is demanding Bombardier apologize to riders after the delivery of new streetcars was delayed yet again.
“It’s about time Bombardier owned this problem and explained themselves to the City of Toronto,” CEO Andy Byford said Monday.
The Quebec-based manufacturer met with Byford on Friday and said it couldn’t meet its revised schedule of delivering four of the low-floor streetcars per month beginning in April.
Seventeen are in service now and the company has pledged to deliver another 13 by year’s end — a minimum target Bombardier called the “worst-case scenario,” said Byford. Bombardier was previously slated to have a total of 54 of the sleek vehicles ready by then, a number that itself was downgraded.
The $1.2-billion dollar purchase of 204 of the lengthy vehicles has been hit by repeated delays of the delivery timeline. The TTC has filed a $50-million dollar lawsuit against the manufacturer, with any money going towards refurbishments of existing streetcars forced to stay on the road.
“Their performance has been woeful,” Byford said, adding “We’re outraged.”
Byford said the new streetcars the TTC does have are loved by riders, and he wants more of the air-conditioned vehicles online before the summer heat.
In a statement Bombardier said it is taking steps to ramp up production, including using a Quebec plant to assist the main production centre in Thunder Bay, Ont. All 204 vehicles will be delivered by the end of 2019, the company said.
TTC Chair Josh Colle said that while the promise is encouraging, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” He said the TTC has tried every option to speed up delivery, and will continue pressing Bombardier to get the job done.
“At the very least show us something that you’re doing differently,” he said. “Take whatever means necessary to get those streetcars on our streets.”
Colle said he’s not ruling out taking the TTC’s complaints to the provincial and federal governments to further turn the screws on Bombardier, which has been beset by financial troubles in its aerospace division, leading it to seek a billion-dollar federal bailout.
Speaking earlier Monday, Mayor John Tory called the latest delay “profoundly disappointing” but said the city can’t switch suppliers at this stage.