As mentioned here on Spacing Toronto in July, the TTC rejected the two remaining TTC streetcar replacement bids by Bombardier Transportation (as its model was deemed not to fit the TTC’s tight curve radii), and the small British firm TRAM Power (for not being commercially compliant). After this surprising turn of events, the TTC is re-opened the proposal, and Siemens (which withdrew from the bid process mid-way), Bombardier, and now Alstom, will enter into negotiations. Formal approval for entering into bid negotiations with all three builders will be presented at tomorrow’s commission meeting.
There were strong rumours that Alstom, with its with its Citadis LRV model, was all-but-chosen as the successful bidder, fueled by Christina Blizzard’s column in last Friday’s Toronto Sun. It appears that this is not quite the case, though it is noteworthy that Alstom did not submit a bid during the first round.
The 25% Canadian content requirement is a complication for all firms, particularly French-based Alstom and German-based Siemens, and only Bombardier has the facilities here in Canada for the production of rail transit vehicles. However, this 25% does not require final assembly to take place in Canada, it only requires 25% of the total value of the vehicles to be manufactured here. As well, the TTC’s tough requirements for its legacy streetcar fleet (which will not include the planned Transit City lines) has made ordering an off-the-shelf streetcar difficult.
As for the local content rule, it should be noted that southern Ontario should be a rich market for LRVs, so it might still make sense for final assembly to be done close to home, no matter who wins the bid. Bombarider’s Thunder Bay plant will be busy with GO Transit and subway orders as well. The TTC will need replacement street railway vehicles, as well as a new fleet for the Transit City light rail system. Additionally, Mississauga/Brampton, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Ottawa also have light rail plans of their own, and will need new vehicles.
Also on the agenda for tomorrow’s commission meeting are a proposal to end “free” parking for Metropass holders, and a plan to end the use of biodiesel in the TTC fleet.
Photo of Barcelona Citadis LRV courtesy of .Robert.