THUNDER BAY -- While Toronto Transit Commission officials wait for their “damn streetcars,” the union president representing workers at the city’s Bombardier plant says supply issues are to blame for the company falling behind schedule.
Unifor Local 1075 president Dominic Pasqualino said there have been delays issues receiving critical components needed to build streetcars for the Toronto Transit Commission from the company’s manufacturing site in Mexico.
The wait for parts has considerably slowed progress at the Thunder Bay plant where the vehicles are assembled, prompting ire from the TTC and forcing the company to drastically revise their delivery schedule on Wednesday.
“The latest (delivery schedule) seems somewhat reasonable. It all depends on us getting parts from the suppliers,” he said.
“It also depends on them getting here on time and being of good quality. We’re spending a lot of our time reworking the parts that come in here and we’re committed to making sure we have a quality product at the end of the day.”
The company said it has stepped up production at the Thunder Bay plant and has taken measures to improve the supply chain, which it admitted had caused delays.
Bombardier pledged to send four completed cars per month after September, which will put them on track for delivering all of the 204 contracted streetcars by the end of 2019. The company expects to have sent 23 cars by the end of this year, with 20 of them being in service.
That’s still far behind the 70 cars by the end of this year that was initially pledged and a request by the TTC for 30 cars.
“I’m kind of sick of their excuses at this point,” said TTC chair Josh Colle at a press conference following the Bombardier announcement, according to The Toronto Star. “I don’t want any more excuses. I just want our damn streetcars.”
TTC officials said there are currently only six new cars in service. Under the original agreement there should be 50.
Pasqualino acknowledged there is a need for the company to uphold its promises otherwise it runs the risk of losing one of its biggest customers.
“Certainly they’re not going to order any more cars unless we can start delivering on their schedule,” Pasqualino said. “There’s no use ordering more cars if we don’t deliver on our commitments.”
The TTC board is scheduled to meet later Wednesday and is expected to discuss potential penalties for Bombardier, including blocking the company from winning future contracts.