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TTC to get 4 new streetcars a month starting in April

The Spadina streetcar heading south on Lower Spadina Avenue at Queen's Quay. DIANA PEREIRA/680 NEWS

There may soon be an influx of new TTC streetcars on city streets if Bombardier finally follows through on its latest promise.

Starting in April, the TTC is expected to receive four new streetcars a month.

“At four a month, we will have a total of 54 streetcars by end of 2016,” TTC spokesperson Brad Ross explained via email. “As we get closer to end of 2019, delivery will need to ramp up to ensure 204 by end of ’19.”

Bombardier made a similar promise last June but the numbers dwindled as the company faced manufacturing problems.

The battle between the TTC and Bombardier over the new streetcars has been a source of great frustration for the city and TTC CEO Andy Byford.

In October the TTC board voted unanimously to sue Bombardier for failure to deliver new streetcars.

Byford said not only was the commission going after the company for a $50-million late delivery fee, but would also seek damages against them for maintenance and overhaul costs of the existing fleet and additional costs for staff time.

“At the end of the day this isn’t the TTC issue, it’s Bombardier’s issue. Bombardier are the villains of the piece here,” Byford said on Oct. 16.

“They have consistently let Toronto and the TTC and its customers down and so we’re looking at every possible option to hold them to account.”

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.

Should Bombardier follow through with its latest promise, the new streetcars could be up and running a few weeks after arrival.

“We need 600 kilometres of testing without any failures before we put them in service,” Ross explained. “(It) takes about a week per car.”

Ross added that they are currently reviewing the deployment plan to figure out which routes the new streetcars would be added to.