So, after Bombardier promised about a month ago that it would deliver one new Flexity streetcar to the TTC in March and four in April, and after only one Flexity LRV arrived in April, I read this article from the CBC…
Bombardier will only deliver 16 new streetcars to TTC this year
Company vows to boost production and delivery of new streetcars in contract it is way behind on
Bombardier Transportation vowed Monday it is taking steps to speed up delivery of new streetcars to the Toronto Transit Commission, but the company said it will only deliver a total of 16 of the vehicles this year.
The TTC currently has 17 of the new low-floor streetcars in service — three of which were delivered earlier this year. That means only 13 more streetcars will arrive by the end of 2016.
As you can well imagine, smoke issued from my ears.
Bombardier’s utter failure to deliver its contracted streetcars on time is a well known, near-national shame. This was probably Bombardier’s last chance to rebuild any credibility whatsoever. If it could have delivered five new streetcars by the end of this month, instead of two, then things would be looking up. Production would be shown to be ramping up, and the quality control issues that slowed deliveries to a crawl would clearly have been dealt with.
But, no. A big part of the problem, here, is that Bombardier has made so many promises that it hasn’t kept. And that’s got to hurt. Philadelphia is looking for its next generation of streetcar to replace its aging equipment. Bombardier has probably scotched its chances there.
There is, however, two nuggets of information that offer a small amount of hope that things might finally be changing.
One, the guy at the top of this mess is new. Benoit Brossoit recently took over as president of Bombardier Transportation Americas, so this is his problem to solve, now, and he has a blank slate on which to do it.
And, two, this paragraph:
The streetcars are assembled at Bombardier’s plant in Thunder Bay, Ont. The company said it will now use a plant in La Pocatière, Que., to provide components, such as underframes and cabs, that will go to Thunder Bay for final production.
Bombardier lost a bit on its “Buy Canadian” argument when it outsourced some of its component construction for the new streetcars to a plant in Mexico, and I’ve heard a number of reports that quality control issues at that Mexico plant are a large reason why streetcar deliveries from Thunder Bay are so slow. You can’t assemble something if the parts to it have been improperly made. By announcing a shift to a Quebec plant for components, Bombardier appears to be acknowledging that the problem is in its supply chain, and is replacing a portion of its supply chain.
It goes to show, when it comes to outsourcing your work in order to lower your costs, you sometimes get what you pay for.