With Metrolinx' new Bombardier contract, streetcars are oddly more expensive than before

Toronto's regional transportation planning agency, Metrolinx, is cutting its order of low-floor streetcars from Bombardier Transportation in more than half. The initial order for 182 vehicles has been lowered to to 76, a reduction of 106 vehicles that were intended to run on the Eglinton Crosstown, Finch West and other light rail transit lines throughout Toronto.

The order of the contract has been cut from $770 million to $392 million and was done so because of Bombardier's chronic delays in delivering an order of over 200 streetcars to the Toronto Transit Commission. Larger penalties have been introduced in case the vehicles aren't delivered on time.

In the old order, each vehicle would have cost $4.23 million each, but in the new one the cost has risen by more than $900,000 to $5.16 million. It's hard to understand how the price of each vehicle could have risen by so much seeing that the specifications and manufacturing plant both remain the same. Phil Verster, CEO of Metrolinx said this is because "there are setup costs Bombardier must bear regardless of the size of the order." (I've reached out to Metrolinx and will update this when they reply).

The fleet of vehicles was supposed to be used on transit lines throughout Toronto, including the several ones that have yet to be funded. With a smaller fleet of vehicles available, they will only be able to run on the Eglinton Crosstown line when it opens in 2022.

Part of the settlement includes extending a separate contract that the company holds to operate GO Transit in the region. The contract had been set to expire in 2023. Now the contract will be extended by 18 months and Bombardier has said this will offset the revenue lost from the smaller vehicle order.

Metrolinx has publicly stated that it had wanted a different company to run the GO Transit operations, which is valued at around $100 million per year. Bombardier has been running and operating the region's fleet of trains and buses for decades.

Under the revised contract, Alstom Canada will build the remaining trains for the transit lines. The vehicles will be built in Brampton and will run on the Sheppard East and Finch West LRT lines when they open.

📸: Wikipedia