Bombardier Layoffs Should Be No Surprise To Politicians

Today’s news of Bombardier lay off plans for half of its Thunder Bay workforce came as political shock, but anyone who has been paying attention to both their empty order book and cutbacks in fleet expansion plans in Toronto should not be surprised.

Bombardier’s industry credibility is less than sterling, but much depends on which product lines and manufacturing plants are involved. A high regard for trams produced in Europe does not translate directly across the patchwork quilt of plants and products Bombardier built into a conglomerate over decades. Back when the Flexity was sold to Toronto, it was touted as a relative of a new 100% low floor design for Berlin, and if Toronto had received Berlin-quality vehicles, a great deal of the anguish about our new streetcar fleet might have been avoided.

It is no secret that Toronto needs more than the 204 new cars it will have by year-end, but the urgent problems of streetcar fleet capacity have been ignored by politicians besotted with new rapid transit projects. The issue predates the Ford government’s moves to take over some or all of the TTC, although that brings further complications. (There are parallel issues with bus fleet capacity planning, bus as they don’t involve Bombardier, I will not get into them here.)

Getting a new streetcar is not simply a case of sending an email to Thunder Bay and saying “send us 60 or 100 more”.

Thunder Bay is more an assembly plant than a point of manufacture for many parts of these cars. Expensive subsystems, such as electronics, are built in Asia, and a significant chunk of the vehicles can never be “Canadian content” because there is no domestic industry for some components. Before any new car order can start down the production line, Bombardier must load up its supply chain.

But we cannot even get to the point of ordering vehicles until funding is in place.

Toronto has a desperate shortfall in its capital budget and funding plans, and anything related to more streetcars is no more than a notional entry if funding were available. It never is because this must compete with a long list of competing projects, not all of which are even in the transit funding envelope. There is a further problem because moving beyond the 204-car order will trigger several other expensive TTC projects including a proposed major change in the use of Hillcrest Shops, and it is not clear just where the TTC would put a much expanded streetcar fleet. (Again there are parallels with bus network shortages, compounded by plans to move to a zero-emission fleet.)

At Queen’s Park, the idea that the streetcar-hating Doug Ford would fund a bailout of Bombardier by way of an order for more streetcars is not credible. If any money flows for rail cars, this would go to more GO passenger cars, or, less likely, new subway cars. GO cars would be a stop-gap, and in any event, direct purchases for GO run counter to Metrolinx plans to push equipment choice and acquisition down to a future network operator for the GO Regional Express Rail (RER) network. There is no guarantee this work would go to Bombardier. Although the Ontario line’s technology is still a mystery, it will definitely not be a conventional subway car. This brings us to the Skytrain technology best known in BC (a Bombardier product, but not from Thunder Bay), or to something comparable from another vendor.

In Ottawa, the federal government has its Public Transit Infrastructure Fund, but Toronto’s allocation is already fully spoken-for for Doug Ford’s transit scheme. There is no money sitting on the table to fund a streetcar purchase. The haggling between the two governments about which of them is holding up spending ignores the fact that none of the subway plans will trigger large scale car orders in the near future.

Even when this is sorted out, the pace of transit spending for the Toronto share is well above the levels in past budget forecasts.

Until the 2019 budget cycle, the TTC had planned to begin replacing its “T1” subway car fleet (the trains that serve Line 2 BD). Here is the procurement plan from the 2018 budget:

In 2019, the TTC changed its T1 fleet plan from replacement to renovation. This pushes any manufacture of new trains further into the future with the Scarborough extension and added trains for the Yonge line in the mid-to-late 2020s. When the TTC Board approved this change, there was no hand-wringing about the potential effect on Thunder Bay’s workload.

Even if the TTC held to its original plan, significant spending on new subway cars would not get underway until 2022.

In all of this, we heard nothing of the Kingston Plant which churns out a car now and then. An obvious question is whether its capacity would be needed if Thunder Bay is idled.

The fundamental problem for Thunder Bay is that Toronto, by itself and with orders from GO Transit, cannot generate enough work to keep the production lines filled.

New Car Reliability

In a small bit of good news, reliability of the Flexity fleet continues to improve. This was reported verbally at the June TTC Board meeting, and the stats are in the July CEO’s report. After the meeting, I chatted with TTC staff about these results and whether this was a one-day-wonder or an improvement that was sustained beyond May 2019. The answer was mixed in that they expect the MDBF value to drop but still be above 20k. With the number of outstanding fixes to be made to the fleet, “reliability” is a moving target. One change is that some conditions, previously considered as faults requiring a car to be pulled out of service, are now treated as fixable at a later time. This reduces the number of faults charged against the MDBF metric.

After years of bumbling along with minimal capacity increases on the surface system, Toronto has finally discovered that its fleet is too small, and there is a desperate backlog to address both capacity and service quality. The problem was obvious to riders for years, but the King Street Pilot drove home what could be done if only we had the will to make transit more attractive.

27 thoughts on “Bombardier Layoffs Should Be No Surprise To Politicians

  1. If not Bombardier, then who? Toronto has blinkers on when considering other manufacturers. As a side note, how long can the Feds keep bailing Bombardier out?

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  2. Due to their wretched quality, Bombardier’s Thunder Bay plant deserves to have an empty order book. This is, of course, not the fault of their workers, who deserve assistance in making the transition to an employer who can achieve customer satisfaction by producing quality goods or services.

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  3. Steve wrote:

    At Queen’s Park, the idea that the streetcar-hating Doug Ford would fund a bailout of Bombardier by way of an order for more streetcars is not credible.

    This is true, but there is a schadenfreude-loving side of me that would revel in this possibility. 🙂

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  4. Kevin Love, I understood that the quality issues – especially the rework that lead to the enormous delays – was not caused by work practices or standards in Thunder Bay. There were several reports about parts made in Mexico that did not fit and wiring from Mexico that had to be redone. It is true that Bombardier’s copy book is severely blotted, but there were few if any reports that laid the blame on Thunder Bay.

    Steve and others – please correct me if I am wrong.

    On a different topic, this post makes me furious – though of course not at you Steve. Ontario is not a poor province and Toronto is the economic engine of Canada. How can we be so stupid as to let politicians box us into a corner where we do not have enough equipment to meet the latent transit demand. In a time where greenhouse gases have been correctly identified as destructive – and where private transportation produces more ghg than transit – why are we still not meeting demand. Many American cities – outside of Chicago and NYC – have underused transit systems where the funding and the subsidy runs ahead of demand. No amount of gentle coercion will get people out of their cars. Why, when we have such a dedicated transit contingent, does Toronto continue to lag so badly – and allow budgets to be set so that we “can’t afford” what we need. And while on the rhetorical question rant, how can Neo-cons feel so strongly that all debt is evil because it will be “left to future generations” while at the same time leaving future generations a damaged planet that will severely impact on their ability to live a full, safe life.

    Steve: Even worse, the neo-cons treat the debt inherent in 3P “alternative financing” as if it is some God-given solution. It is creative accounting plus a bonus for friends of government in the “private” sector.

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  5. What I still find had to come to terms with is, with all the difficulties of the Flexities and the fact that they will need more than the 204 cars, why are they not refurbishing the ARLRV’s (what few they have left) and the CLRV’s instead of scrapping them? At least this could be done at Hillcrest and more streetcar routes could return to streetcar operation instead of sitting there like a target for the idiot Ford.

    Steve: Those cars are beyond hope and have both structural, and more importantly electrical and mechanical problems that a trip through Hillcrest won’t fix.

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  6. Michael Greason wrote:

    “Kevin Love, I understood that the quality issues – especially the rework that lead to the enormous delays – was not caused by work practices or standards in Thunder Bay.”

    Kevin’s comment:

    True, but irrelevant. Plant management in Thunder Bay committed two big mistakes.

    1. Failure to perform adequate supplier quality assurance. They should have had procedures in place to ensure that only good material would come in from Mexico (or anywhere else!)

    2. Failure to perform adequate finished goods quality assurance. They should have had procedures in place to ensure that only good material was shipped out from Thunder Bay to their customer: The City of Toronto.

    Notice that I place 100% of the blame on Bombardier management, not the workforce. Indeed, there is some evidence that top management at Bombardier took great pains to ensure that quality streetcars were shipped on-time to the highly-competitive European market. While, at the same time, assuming that Toronto was a captive market that would continue to buy from Bombardier even if Toronto got defective products with late delivery.

    I believe that it is time to demonstrate to Bombardier management that this assumption was their mistake #3.

    Steve: I think you err in regarding Bombardier management as a monolith making decisions about product quality based on the client market. The failure was not to assume Toronto would take anything they produced, but that complex production work could be transplanted from experienced European plants where these cars were developed. Splitting the work partly off to a Mexican plant with abysmal quality control just compounded the situation.

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  7. Steve, if Toronto decides to proceed with additional tram orders, the components would come from Europe. Bombardier has huge supply chains in Romania and Germany. Sourcing from Asia is a huge headache in this environment. If the component comes through Long Beach, it will be a customs nightmare.

    Metrolinx cannot order more rolling stock. RER rolling stock is suppose to be chosen by the DBFOM vendor. If you look at the 4 preferred bidders, none of them will really use Bombardier rolling stock. If Metrolinx decides to expedite the Bomanville extension and extend GO train services to places like London, an order is possible.

    The easiest way to save the jobs there lies with VIA Rail. By replacing the rolling stock of the Canadian and the Ocean and upping them back to daily service, this order will keep Thunder Bay operating for years until the Ontario orders come in. It is much easier to start a production on sleeping, dining and luggage cars as they use off the shelf components. A Campbellton, Moncton Halifax daily return service can easily add another 10 to 20 passenger cars to the order. The problem with VIA Rail is that most of their orders go to La Pocatier .

    Losing Bombardier in this environment is not ideal. Any country needs a manufacturing base in case of war, foreign supply chain disruptions. The relative stable performance of the CAD is based on the fact that Canada has a viable manufacturing base. Otherwise, the CAD will fluctuate like the AUD. Thunder Bay also supplies the ICTS vehicles for the world. It does help Canadians to earn foreign exchange.

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  8. The remark from Kevin Love, that “Due to their wretched quality, Bombardier’s Thunder Bay plant deserves to have an empty order book,” is shortsighted. The Bombardier Outlook (and Freedom) are not PCC vehicles. Very little electronics in the PCC that could break down. Just like in appliances these days, there are more parts that can and do break down.

    See “Survey suggests some new appliances may break down sooner”. It seems any “new” product that contains electronics, these days, do not last as long as they did in the “good old days”.

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  9. The problem with the plant in Thunder Bay is the result of two things as far as I can see:

    1) Poor management. The management of Bombardier has shown that they are incapable of running a successful plant in Thunder Bay. If they can make streetcars successfully in Europe then management should have done one of three things: not taken on the TTC project for new streetcars, copy how they operate their European plants in Thunder Bay, or build the cars in Europe and ship them over here.

    2) The Governments up to now consistently bailing out Bombardier – either a direct bail out of cash, or by favouring Bombardier with contracts. This also goes back to #1 as it allowed management to make mistakes and continue to do so.

    I know that Bombardier would likely not have received the contract for the streetcars if they were build in Europe, however they could have either done some of the final work in Thunder Bay (painting, testing, etc.) instead.

    I feel sorry for the workers who are losing their job, but the time to stop bailing out Bombardier’s poor management has come.

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  10. I understand Bombardier’s bid was $600 Million dollars LESS than the only other bidder. Wouldn’t you think TTC would seriously investigate before accepting their bid? Came back to bite them in the ass!

    Steve: Siemens’ bid included the cost of setting up a manufacturing facility which they did not have, but Bombardier did. As to their ability to produce European-quality cars in a brand new plant with new staff, well it’s anyone’s guess how Siemens would have fared. However, it is clear Bombardier made too many assumptions about the ease of shifting European production to Mexico and Canada for what was then a brand-new car.

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  11. Toronto is a strange place, where there is no money for transit, but yet I see hundreds, if not thousands of luxury condos growing in the skies every passing day.

    Even as far as Markham Road & Ellesmere, there are plans to construct a dozen condo towers, and at the low-income Victoria Park & Eglinton area, an entire parking lot is considered to be used to build at least five condo towers at least 35 stories high.

    Doesn’t Toronto have a tax on these phallic luxury status symbols, or are the middle class and recently the poor, having to pay for all of this expansion?

    The politicians claim that there is no money for transit, yet TTC will raise fares and reduce peak service, while the luxury condos keep on rising, but for whom?

    Steve: As you may have read recently, about one third of all condos in Toronto are purchased for investment, not for occupancy. The drive for all of this construction is off-shore money looking for a safe haven.

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  12. Bombardier needs to go down. We need to end this travesty of more than 40 years, stretching back to Trudeau’s use of the company’s feeble promises to shore up his re-election chances in Quebec with our money. Letting it go down and having the pieces picked up by others will also end the UTDC fiasco we can pin on Bill Davis, David Peterson, Bob Rae and a cast of seemingly thousands at Queen’s Park. It’s time to bite the bullet and apply some tough love. If it also quashes Unifor, so much the better. Too bad Miller, Mihevc, Giambrone and others aren’t still in office so they, too, could pay the price for doing Bombardier’s bidding at Toronto City Hall. Shame on all of them.

    Steve: There is a more general issue with a few companies like Bombardier and SNC Lavalin being willing clients to take over assets that were in the government’s hands or needed to be rescued from bankruptcy. It was a convenient arrangement where a government unloads assets to, in theory, a company that would keep workers and product, but also setting up a quid-pro-quo of subsidies and skewed bidding to send work their way. As long as they could produce eve vaguely competent equipment, this arrangement suited everyone, but even that fell apart as quality dropped and orders could not credibly be sent to the favoured supplier.

    It will be interesting to see what technology is proposed for the “Ontario” line given that a Skytrain-like car profile has been mooted, but Skytrain per se is a Bombardier product. Would Doug Ford send his signature project to such an incompetent supplier?

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  13. As someone in the market for a place to live, let me tell you that many of these so-called “luxury condos” are anything but luxurious. Narrow and dark. Meanwhile those of middle class who were lucky enough to buy land 20 years ago are now in the process of pricing everyone else out of their neighbourhoods by insisting on “keeping neighbourhood character” (thus changing neighbourhood character by pricing non-rich people) and preventing low-rise or mid-rise intensification anywhere – especially close to Line 2 subway stations (richer people live near subway stations so they get more say). Those of supposed “middle class” probably rent these days and the poor are screwed as always.

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  14. I think the blame for Bombardier can be spread around. If Bombardier were a more reliable manufacturer, they would be happily building LRTs for Mississauga and Hamilton right now instead of Alstom (early reports from Ottawa are that the Alstom trains might be lemons, but the jury is still out). The provincial government has thrown a spanner into GO and subway expansion with all of its “reworkings” and “efficiencies” so all new orders from there have seized up. Via Rail gave its new train orders to Siemens instead of Bombardier due to the federal government’s desire to be more transparent, so no new orders there. I think Bombardier needed an additional manufacturing plant for its San Francisco BART order, but due to Buy America rules, it had to acquire an entirely new manufacturing plant in California to do this assembly instead of just shifting things from New York to Thunder Bay.

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  15. I was involved in the original Skoda attempt to crack the Toronto transit equipment market and the subsequent Siemens attempts at the TTC, GO and what became GO’s UPX. Both builders did everything right, but those Bombardier supporters at Toronto City Hall went to work on us both times. In both cases, we had potential GTHA final assembly facilities and a slew of certified local suppliers for everything from traction motors to doors. Your tax dollars at work!

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  16. While I have great respect for Steve, I disagree with his view that somehow Bombardier’s problems are limited to the TTC’s streetcar order. Bombardier has been plagued by delays and incompetence for most if not all of its orders from Toronto to New York to Switzerland and beyond. How many hundreds of times have we been delayed because Bombardier can’t get the doors to close or open properly on its subway cars? Not only Bombardier has repeatedly missed its own unilaterally watered down delivery schedule but Bombardier’s brand new streetcars have been malfunctioning from day one and just recently the vast majority of these brand new streetcars were recalled. Bombardier was so late and incompetent with the LRT order from Metrolinx that Metrolinx was forced to look for another more competent and more reliable supplier. Bombardier has delayed projects all over the world from Waterloo Region to the rest of Ontario and Canada and the world. Even Bombardier’s aerospace program has been marred with delays and incompetence and third rate products. Then, there is the fact that Bombardier has been accused of bribery and corruption all over the world that no decent man, woman, or child could want anything to do with this company that brings nothing but shame to this country. Yes, Toronto needs more streetcars and subway trains but please not from Bombardier. Not one more penny of our hard earned tax dollars should go to this disgraceful corrupt company known as Bombardier.

    Steve: I never said that Bombardier’s problems are limited to Toronto, but the situation varies from plant to plant around the world. One does not read of production and quality delays on Flexitys in Europe, and that’s the comparison I was making.

    The “vast majority” of the streetcars that were “recalled” are the first roughly 75 cars which had frame welding problems from the Mexican plant where there was clearly both a lack of competence and of quality control. They are not pulled from service in the sense of being unable/unsafe to operate, but are being cycled through the La Pocatiere BBD factory for repairs over a few years so that the number out of service at any time is less than half a dozen. That said, this was a huge black eye for BBD and shows how their attempt to set up a NA Flexity production line was very badly implemented controlled. FWIW the workers in Thunder Bay complained bitterly that they could have done this work, and done it correctly.

    More telling is that TTC staff report they have never seen a new vehicle with as many outstanding “fix” orders. Working through that backlog is a hard slog, but reliability is gradually improving. The issue, of course, is that this situation should never have occurred.

    As for the aerospace program, I think that the corporate history of Bombardier will regard their attempt to play in the big leagues of commercial aircraft as their undoing. Part of this was corporate hubris, and part was exploiting every job creation/retention program available (and not just in Canada). In turn, this program diverted management attention from their core rail business that had been built up by acquisition over years.

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  17. Reading through the history of Minneapolis’ Metro Blue Line which opened in 2004 is a hoot.

    Apparently, some of the delay had to do with slow delivery of trainsets from Bombardier. Certain aspects of the design had been tried before, but the cars were the first to combine the factors of conforming to American standards (as opposed to European), having low floors and being built at the company’s Mexico plant.

    Over 10 years later we have the same Mexican plant with the same excuses!

    Continuing the theme of shoddy product, I still see TR trains that don’t sit level with station platforms.

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  18. Steve: The “vast majority” of the streetcars that were “recalled” are the first roughly 75 cars which had frame welding problems from the Mexican plant where there was clearly both a lack of competence and of quality control.

    I am tired of everything being blamed on Mexico. Even if we assume that the parts made by Mexico were somehow imperfect, did the CANADIAN employees of Bombardier at Thunder Bay have the decency to call it out rather than to cover it up and use those allegedly imperfect parts from Mexico hoping that the TTC won’t notice? And yes, the CANADIAN employees of Bombardier at Thunder Bay did put our safety at risk. As a matter of fact, it was pointed out in the Toronto Star that the quality of these brand new Bombardier streetcars was so bad in the beginning, TTC officials refused to accept them fearing for the safety of passengers and TTC employees. Bombardier has been so incompetent that they deserve to have an empty order book. We need to dump Bombardier and switch to a more competent and reliable supplier rather than the very corrupt Bombardier. Please Google Bombardier’s countless corruption scandals and tell me why its CANADIAN executives are not behind bars.

    Steve: The Thunder Bay workers did call out the poor quality of the material arriving from Mexico, but were forced to work with what they received.

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  19. Many people have suggested that we (the taxpayers) should bail Bombardier out because jobs are at stake but if you want to protect jobs, then why don’t we bail out GM first as many more jobs are at stake at the GM? At least, GM makes good quality products unlike the crap that Bombardier makes and delivers many years late only to then recall their brand new products. Please, no more taxpayer dollars to Bombardier.

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  20. I think an add-on order with Bombardier makes sense but what is the likelihood that the TTC would buy LRVs from Alstom, now that they assemble them in Brampton? It *could* play to the politics of the day of both shunning Bombardier AND buying local.

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  21. Reader George comments about Mexican work and blames BBD Thunder Bay employees for “covering up” faulty work.

    It has little or nothing to do with the employees at all. They work with what they have. It IS the responsibility of MANAGEMENT to look into problems. This they finally did as regards the faulty welds. BBD sent a small team to Mexico to look into things. They found SEVEN welding techniques being used! They managed to get it down to three methods.

    There was a cover up of some sort as regards the need to recall for correction ALL of the initial cars built prior to the weld correction. This certainly was not the fault of employees at Thunder Bay. It was hushed up likely by TTC AND BBD management.

    Faulty wiring connections were yet another Mexican labour problem that required THOUSANDS of connectors on every car to be MANUALLY checked out by Thunder Bay employees and corrected when necessary. Not sure how long this took but it sure was a BIG task.

    All-in-all, a big mess! And it ain’t over yet.

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  22. Bombardier screw-ups have done a lot to nurture the anti-streetcar movement in Toronto. Had Bombardier not screwed up, Toronto would have ordered 60 additional streetcars before Doug Ford got elected as Premier. Now, those 60 additional streetcars will be replaced with buses and let us hope that they are electric buses. It is simply not politically feasible to order any additional streetcars from Bombardier given its long history of delays and poor quality products.

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  23. Mexico may have provided defective parts but the high tech electronics were made flawlessly in Asia. Why don’t we order the entire vehicles from Asia? We need to stop looking only at western cities when it comes to shaping the future of our transit systems when the best transit systems are in Asia.

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  24. Thanks for clarifying Mr. Steve Munro.

    As a post-secondary student pursuing a Masters Degree at UofT in September, I am jaded at the fact that the job market is dire, employers are cheap, petty crime is increasing in Toronto, politicians are cutting costs and giving tax breaks to the corporate elite, cost-cutting is the norm, but the condos seem to be growing all over the place. A 67 storey condo was recently built at Yonge-Eglinton, but the TTC subway station is falling apart.

    Across UofT, there is a proposal to construct several mega tall condo towers, and destroying the architecture of the Victorian era buildings which house several departments.

    Toronto is like some sort of uber-capitalist city, but losses are socialized for the taxpayers, such as in the case of government bailouts to banks and Bombardier.

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  25. This is a sort-of comment about Greg Gormick’s comment above about how the government[s] (provincial and federal) need to let Bombardier go down in flames and perhaps be reborn from the ashes.

    I vaguely remember riding either on the Bloor-Danforth subway line or on one of the many transit buses, even into the late 1990s, and seeing metal plates with a version of “Proudly Manufactured by Canada Car [or Hawker Siddeley] in Thunder Bay, Ontario” or something to that effect. I remember these plates were attached to the wall below the “TTC By-law #1” notice near the front doorway of the (first?) subway cars. For me, originally coming from a small Highway 11 town that a 2-1/2-hour drive west of Thunder Bay, it was a point of pride to see a good product being put to good use in The Big Smoke, all while providing good jobs and wages for those folks in the Lakehead.

    Anyway, I knew people close to my extended family who worked at the Canadian Car & Foundry plant in Thunder Bay for years, where, while earning their good wages, they helped the plant get a good reputation for the products they produced.

    Then came the purchase of the plant by SNC-Lavalin and then Bombardier. This latter, with their recent [“money-saving”] plant in Mexico has, instead, cost the company their reputation and the City of Toronto their properly-scheduled streetcar deliveries thanks to having to re-machine faulty parts, all for the sake of the almighty dollar.

    So, here are my (likely rhetorical) questions….

    1. How does one fight those ever-present cheap, penny-pinching, short-sighted Toronto City Councillors who don’t care about providing reliable vehicles for the city’s transit users, which – duh, of course! – cost money but also offer the opportunity to increase transit use and income for the TTC immediately as well as over future years? And then how does one argue with those same councillors who have, in the next breath, no problem approving HALF A BILLION DOLLARS to fix the Gardiner Expressway. That same Expressway (also known as a *visible* “asphalt money pit”) that will, itself, have to be fixed again within 15 years due to “wear and tear.” (According to some politicians, subways “last for 100 years” – and in continuous pristine condition!)
    2. How does one ensure that a “Buy Ontario/Canadian” policy by a pair of governments (Ontario and Canada) doesn’t turn the product into a white elephant – and result in a transit money pit – to ensure, say, the re-election of MPs or MPPs by residents of the ridings that benefit from the financial outpouring – all without real benefit to the actual users of the system?
    3. Finally, how does one fight the corporate mantra of “Profit for CEOs and Shareholders All the Time, Every Time” while trying to ensure that good products are manufactured by good employees who get good pay for their good work? Meaning that good transit vehicles (or whatever the products are) are produced with a lifespan longer than that of many politicians who had made the original decisions? …

    There’s a reason people say one should never hire a relative or a friend to do any work: you risk losing your money, your sanity, your time and your family relationship/friendship – because whatever it is they were working on has become a cock-up if there are “issues” (or – as mentioned before – a money pit).

    There needs to be an improvement in the entire process for transit manufacturing: needs need to be assessed locally; appropriate parameters for vehicle requirements must be clearly determined; Requests for Proposal or Quotation (RFPs/RFQs) MUST be developed by competent staff – NOT POLITICIANS – staff who are familiar with industry standards; and there needs to be a process in place – stated in the contract – whereby, throughout the manufacturing process, CLEAR FINANCIAL PENALTIES are applied for delays in staging or non-completion of work.

    This isn’t rocket science but it seems that, once again, the black box of technology and the black holes of corporate profit-seeking continue to negatively affect transit development in this city. The public servants seem helpless, the politicians prove useless and the public are left waiting at the curb for the next streetcar that will never come.

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