TTC Green Bus Program Update, July 2022

At its meeting of July 14, 2022, the TTC Board received a Green Bus Update. By the time a contract is awarded later this year, it will be almost five years since the TTC began this process.

Among the issues not yet resolved are the status of various potential vendors, the degree to which the head-to-head comparison of buses will actually influence product selection, and the financial arrangements in the short and long term for a major shift in bus propulsion technology.

History

The whole Green Bus process at TTC began with a presentation to the Board on November 13, 2017, under the guise of a “deputation” by representatives of BYD. This was engineered in advance by a member of the Board, our about-to-retire Deputy Mayor, in a manner that no vendor should have been allowed. This was not the TTC Board’s brightest hour. At the time, Andy Byford was CEO. He was not pleased with the situation, but already had one foot out the door on his way to New York City.

To its credit, the Board launched a comparison of then-available “long range” battery buses rather than just swallowing BYD’s promotion. Originally, the trial fleet was to be 10 buses from each of three vendors, but this was expanded on June 12, 2018, to a further 10 each. BYD was unable to deliver, and so their extra 10 were allocated between the other vendors, New Flyer and Proterra, giving a 10-25-25 fleet mix.

Although BYD deliveries were late and they performed poorly in the comparison, there is no indication that they were excluded.

Also in June 2018, the Board passed an important qualifier on its Green Bus program:

The TTC confirms its target for procurement of only zero-emissions propulsion technology starting in 2025 and define zero-emissions propulsion technology as fossil-fuel-free.

Just how serious they will be about “fossil-fuel-free” remains to be seen depending on the degree to which electric power generation that is truly “clean” is in the mix. Ontario’s potential shift to gas-fired plants could threaten that goal.

Coming into 2020, the TTC received a new infusion of capital financing through Toronto’s City Building Fund, an add-on to the property tax that would be directed to housing and transit. The TTC allocated $750 million of its share to new buses ($686m) and to charging infrastructure ($68m). This was expected to fund about 614 vehicles with roughly half being hybrids, and half battery buses.

Although Toronto is keen to shift to a zero emissions bus fleet, that move cannot begin until there is actually a supply of vehicles that can sustain day-to-day transit operations. As an interim measure, the TTC has placed what it hopes to be its last order for hybrid buses for delivery in 2022-23.

In February 2022, contracts were awarded to Nova Bus (134 40-foot) and New Flyer (134 40-foot and 68 60-foot artics).

The TTC also began to examine the provision, financing and operation of charging stations through a partnership with hydro utilities. On February 10, 2022, the Board approved a contract with a subsidiary of Ontario Power Generation Inc. “for the co-investment, ownership, design, build, operation and maintenance of electrification infrastructure”.

Although the “head-to-head” comparison of vehicles was expected to winnow the field, it suffered from the absence of Nova Bus who did not, at the time, have a long-range version of their eBus. Their hybrid bus was used as a comparator in terms of construction and reliability. There was a clear difference in results from the three vendors, but this was downplayed as more an exercise in figuring out what a major order should look for in vehicles and vendors, rather than excluding vendors from the next round of bids.

On April 14, 2021, the Board received the results of the head-to-head comparison of battery buses. Of the three vendors, New Flyer fared best, while both Proterra and BYD “need improvement”. However, this was qualified by the following observation:

When reviewing this report, it is important to understand that the findings are specific to the eBus models procured, and to how those buses have performed in the TTC’s operating environment. As a result, the findings of this report may not be applicable to other transit authorities. Further, as the results are preliminary, we expect that action plans across all vendors will result in improvements to vehicle and vendor performance that will be reflected in our next report on the eBus head-to-head evaluation in Q1 2022.

As well, new eBuses offered by BYD, NFI and Proterra are expected to address system compatibility issues, which for the TTC will be critical for the successful adoption of this technology.

Authority to award the contract was delegated to the CEO at its April 14, 2021 meeting:

The Board delegate authority to the TTC CEO to undertake a public procurement through issuance of a negotiated Request for Proposal (nRFP) and enter into up to two contracts for the supply of approximately 300 long-range, battery-electric buses (eBuses), based on the following:
a. Limit the total contract award amount, including all applicable taxes, and project delivery costs to within the approved funding of approximately $300 million;
b. Apply lessons learned through the TTC’s eBus Head-to-Head Evaluation to prequalify potential suppliers based on demonstrated compliance with system compatibility requirements and Transport Canada’s Motor Vehicle Safety Standards;
c. All 300 eBuses to be delivered between Q1 2023 and Q1 2025; and
d. Negotiation of an acceptable agreement that is satisfactory to the TTC General Counsel.

The final report on the comparison came to the Board on April 14, 2022. It sets out the goals of the trial as:

1. Evaluate all three eBus types in the TTC’s operating environment and leverage lessons learned to inform eBus technical and commercial specifications for future procurements; and
2. Share our findings with the broader transit community through an open exchange of best practices to assist with eBus planning and adoption.

Rather than exclude vendors from bidding, the TTC set out “must haves” for any new buses:

1. Altoona and shaker table testing has been successfully completed;
2. A full stainless steel structure with a minimum of six years of in service experience;
3. A minimum usable battery capacity of 400 kWh;
4. A maximum overall bus length of 12.8 m (42 ft.) including a stowed bike rack;
5. A maximum overall height of 340 cm (134 in.) including any roof-mounted equipment;
6. Ability to charge via roof mounted pantograph charging interface, capable of accepting a minimum charge rate of 300kW (400 ADC) at 750 VDC or greater via SAE J3105/1; and
7. Two rear-mounted charging ports capable of accepting a minimum charging rate of 150 kW (200 ADC) at 750 VDC or greater via SAE J1772.

For a detailed review of the final report, please see my article TTC eBus Study: Final Results.

The Board further delegated authority to the CEO regarding subsidies for and possible expansion of this program on April 14, 2022 to:

a. Enter into contribution agreement(s), where required, with government partners to receive any net new funding / financing for the TTC’s Green Bus program; and
b. Subject to commitment of matching funds from provincial and/or federal government partners, amend existing and pending contract(s) to increase the eBus procurement quantity and associated infrastructure works in proportion to the additional funds committed.

The contract award for purchase of battery electric buses will likely occur in September 2022.

The Green Bus Fleet Plan

The fleet plan and anticipated benefits are set out in the Presentation included in the Board’s agenda.

Procurements over the next decade are expected to be almost all battery-electric buses with the last of the hybrid purchases coming in the recently-awarded contract.

The bus fleet now contains a mix of diesel, hybrid and a few battery buses as shown below. As the older technologies are replaced, the emission rate from the fleet will drop.

System requirements for diesel fuel will also decline until the late 2030s when all vehicles will be electric.

These charts are based on current service plans which foresee only a gradual increase in bus service with some offset from conversion of major routes to LRT or subway. This does not provide for substantial service expansion that would accompany an aggressive move to shift travel onto transit.

A major technical issue for the TTC is the range of a vehicle on one charge. Diesel and hybrid buses can remain in service for an extended period without refilling. Battery buses are limited by the charge they can carry and the rate at which this will be depleted depending on route characteristics and driving conditions.

The TTC, compared to many transit systems, has a high proportion of its fleet operating outside of peak periods. This means that the opportunity to recharge during a break in service is reduced.

Depending on the range that will be achieved by future battery buses, this could force the TTC to expand its fleet to account for change-offs so that buses can return to the garage before they run out of power.

This factor has not yet been built into fleet plans, and the TTC appears to be hoping that technology will catch up with their requirements before this becomes an issue.

Here are the pre-pandemic (January 2020) bus requirements for TTC service.

MorningMiddayAfternoonEveningLate EveningOvernight
Weekdays16221033158395857862
Saturdays7171013102173753260
Sundays66986690864050355

The report does not discuss on-route charging with “top up” stations at key points. However, the “must have” list does include pantograph charging as well as plug-in capablity, and the TTC is considering pantograph-based charging at Birchmount Garage. This has potential benefits both for day-to-day operations in service as well as for simplified vehicle charging at garages.

Financing

The problem facing an electrification project is that the cost of buses is higher than their hybrid equivalents, although might improve over time. There is also the cost of retrofitting existing garages and providing charging facilities to support hundreds of buses at each location rather than only a few as today.

The TTC expects to save $50,000 annually per eBus of which $40,000 would be in fuel cost (electric vs diesel) and $10,000 would be on maintenance. Future diesel costs might go up relative to electricity, but the degree to which that will happen is not known.

That $40,000 figure is based on comparison with clean diesels, even though the fleet is now almost half hybrids which have a $12,700 annual fuel cost lower than diesels. Therefore, the actual saving available for half of the fleet is only about $27,000. Throughout the eBus program, the TTC has made a bad habit of comparing eBuses with the worst of the diesels they would replace. However, there is much less “saving” when the actual fleet is already cleaner than the point of comparison.

There is no provision in the report for a possibly longer-lived electric bus fleet, but this will be an issue as the first eBuses come due for replacement in the mid 2030s. If they can continue to operate without driving up maintenance costs, this could save on future capital spending. However, it is too soon to know if this will really happen and whether the eBus industry will produce longer-lasting vehicles than the diesel/hybrid buses now in use.

The TTC forecasts substantial savings over coming decades. Note that the saving in each five years rises as more of the fleet converts to electric operation. As noted above, these numbers do not factor in the savings already achieved with the hybrid bus fleet.

At this point, the financial sleight-of-hand gets tricky.

The chart above mentions using the savings to offset budget pressure or (a very important “or”) to secure recoverable debt. Such a scheme would load capital costs onto the operating budget where they would compete with service, maintenance and fare policy. For many decades, TTC funding has treated operating and capital budgets separately, but this could be compromised if debt service becomes an operating cost. The Board moved to:

Endorse TTC staff’s continued efforts to develop a financing strategy to enable the TTC to contribute to the funding of its Innovation and Sustainability Program implementation such that operating savings, from fleet electrification and other innovation and sustainability initiatives, can be reallocated to fund any new operating costs and secured to service debt borrowing costs for capital works arising from the implementation of TTC’s Innovation and Sustainability Program.

The chart above postulates a $900 million avoidance over almost two decades on the assumption of rapidly rising diesel costs versus electric. It is important to distinguish between “saving” and “avoidance”. The distinction is between an actual cost reduction on the current spending base, as opposed to a notional saving against what future budgets might face.

Savings against today’s budget one can spend today. Possible savings tomorrow cannot actually be spent, and “avoidance” in this case could simply mean redirection of spending from operating costs (buying fuel) to debt service.

If the TTC were profitable, one could treat this as an investment of surplus funds. However, the TTC has not been profitable since the mid-20th century, and any “savings” in opex would simply reduce its deficit. Presenting this as a funding stream is misleading, and the tactic risks confusing just what the annual “operating” subsidy would pay for.

To put it another way, the City of Toronto will be required to provide operating subsidy to pay off capital costs even though the new buses will “save” money. Why this is not simply treated as one more of the TTC’s many capital projects is a mystery. If there are true savings, they should go into better service, or fare restructuring, or reducing operating subsidies.

Every year, we go through the exercise of pinching pennies in the operating budget, a practice that can be lauded as “good business” but which constrains service growth and can lead to substandard maintenance. Toronto has been down this path before. If the operating budget must now carry an unavoidable capital funding component, this portion will not be available for “efficiency”.

This smells of an attempt to disguise the true long-term cost of more-expensive buses. One way or another, Toronto has to pay to move to green buses. The report and presentation on one hand suggest that savings could be used to finance electrification, and on the other that they could reduce budget pressures. We cannot have it both ways. Accounting trickery is not the way to go green.

Either we buy more expensive infrastructure that will yield savings we can invest in operations, reduced subsidies, or new fare policies, or we scoop those savings to pay for the infrastructure.

The TTC is hoping to obtain $350 million from Infrastructure Canada’s Zero Emission Transit Fund. This would pay for 160 more eBuses and 540 charge points. This effectively reduces the cost/bus to Toronto over the early years of the conversion. However, there is no guarantee that the federal government will continue this level of subsidy through the entire cycle of diesel/hybrid bus replacements, let alone for any growth in the fleet. [This paragraph was revised at 10:40 pm, July 27, to fully explain the use of the federal funds.]

Another possible source of funds is the Canada Infrastructure Bank lending to the City of Toronto. However, it is not yet clear whether the rates CIB might charge the City are any more attractive than it can obtain on the open market where the City has a good credit rating.

Between City and Federal money, the TTC can jump-start the conversion program, but there remains the cost of over 1,000 more eBuses through the 2020s and early 2030s, and the ongoing cost of vehicle replacement thereafter.

Overall, there are many questions about how Toronto will afford its move to green buses among its many other priorities both for transit and in other portfolios.

22 thoughts on “TTC Green Bus Program Update, July 2022

  1. Do you know if

    A) Batteries can be swapped out and easily replaced? I am assuming the bus body will last much longer than the battery.
    B) if TTC can actually get some money back on batteries by making them available for recycling and reducing e-waste?

    Steve: Yes, as with the hybrid buses, the batteries do not last as long as the bodies, and they are changed out.

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  2. The advantage of e-buses only makes sense if someone else pays the capital costs.

    Based on 350mm for 160 buses, each bus is 2.1875mm. Last year TTC paid 390mm for 300 hybrids or 1.3mm per bus.

    Savings of 27,000 per bus annually when the bus is 900k extra up front seems to imply that it would take over 30 years to make that annual savings worth it.

    Steve: I see that I have left out some info in the article, and will fix that. Meanwhile, the full paragraph about the fed’s $360m is:

    The TTC is currently seeking $350 million in partner funding from Infrastructure Canada (INFC) through the Zero Emission Transit Fund (ZETF), which would cover 50% of the eligible costs to procure approximately 400 eBuses and 540 charge points between 2022-2025. An application to INFC has been submitted and is currently under review. However, eBus procurements beyond the current procurement of 240 eBuses currently remain unfunded.

    So the $350 million pays for 160 buses above the 240 the TTC has money in hand for, plus 540 charging stations. The TTC currently has $300 million in hand implying an estimated cost/eBus of $1.25 million.

    Sorry for the confusion.

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  3. Depending on the range that will be achieved by future battery buses, this could force the TTC to expand its fleet to account for change-offs so that buses can return to the garage before they run out of power.

    This factor has not yet been built into fleet plans, and the TTC appears to be hoping that technology will catch up with their requirements before this becomes an issue.

    That seems just a tad bit irresponsible. I was never a fan of the political decision to push ahead with this EV changeover before the technology is ready for prime time. It has all the markings of another slow motion alternate fuel bus train wreck.

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  4. I am not sure why there is a myth about electric buses not being ready for “prime time”. China alone has half a million of these in active service. Shenzen (home base of BYD) averages 170km/day/bus with a 250kWH battery pack while TTC is asking for minimum 400. In India, private intercity bus operators are running electric buses between cities (range 300KMs) across fairly hilly terrain between Mumbai and Pune. There are probably more examples around but these are what I know of.

    Sure, we can crib about charging times and infrastructure needed but waiting for things to be “mature” seems more irresponsible.

    Steve: China may have thousands of eBuses in service, but the 10 BYDs we got were less than sterling in their performance, and there was poor vendor support. Toronto is not alone in having problems with BYDs.

    One thing we don’t know about all those buses in China are how many are in active service at any one time, or what their lifespan is. A high spare ratio drives up capital costs for both buses and for garage space.

    Given our service pattern, with many buses that stay out all day and into the evening, a substantial range is essential. It costs extra labour to change off buses midway through the day, although that can be in part offset with on route charging capability. On a system with a high peak:base service ratio, the shorter range is not an issue because most buses return to the garage.

    An important point the TTC study found was that the electrical/propulsion systems of the eBuses tested were not the primary source of problems. Rather it is the basics of having a robust vehicle.

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  5. If the vehicles cannot meet the system’s needs by matching the capability of the diesels in staying out on the road for 16 hours a day then it’s not ready. The sums of money needed to pay for the increased head count to drive buses back to the garage more frequently, and not to mention possible increased infrastructure and rolling stock requirements, could end up being quite large. It’s all money that wouldn’t be used to improve service. If they’re not at least planning for this possibility and just hoping the problem doesn’t materialize then they’re even more incompetent than I give them credit for.

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  6. 170 km by the way is hardly impressive. Route 53 Steeles is about 48 km round trip with a run time of roughly 2 hours. Route 325 Don Mills is about 40 km round trip with a run time of 90 minutes. The first bus does 100 km over a night on route plus at least 25 km deadheading to and from Eglinton garage. Do the math on those. Are we supposed to be running buses back to the garage every 5-6 hours now? That would be a huge and costly change in how the TTC operates bus services.

    Steve: The raw km travelled on one charge is only part of the calculation. Night buses have a relatively benign duty cycle with little road traffic and fewer stops. Buses on busy routes (not just downtown, but also in the suburbs) carry heavier loads, stop more often and are more likely to be caught in traffic congestion. The TTC’s detailed study of power consumption route-by-route, combined with a finding that every manufacturer quoted bus ranges in excess of what could actually be achieved, is a cautionary tale to avoid buying the hype.

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  7. I’m actually curious why BYD can perform well in most of the regions except North America. One of my friend who is a bus enthusiasts in China told me that in Shenzhen, BYD has around 10 years lifespan and usually run 170-200 km per charge on average. At first around 2012 and 2013, Shenzhen has a lot of problems with BYD ebuses bus but most of them resolved by the end of 2015. Btw, the Shenzhen Bus Group has adopted battery swapping technology for some ebuses when arriving at bus terminals, which is an effective solution for ebus range but no doubt it need more investments.

    Btw, I wonder why most people only focus on the performance of New Flyer and BYD, but only a few pay attention to Proterra whose performance is even miles worse than BYD.

    Steve: Swapping out batteries while in service is a labour intensive practice and one that is not practical without appropriate facilities. It begs the “not ready for prime time” question as a “fix” rather than a permanent solution. It’s important to remember that BYD started out as a battery manufacturer, and buses simply were a way to provide a market. Their battery technology, at least the one used in their earlier days, had range limits, but they are now moving to the technology more common in the industry to meet range requirements.

    Some of BYD’s problems have related to bus manufacture, and it could well be that they have been unable to establish a base in NA than can produce vehicles to meet market demands. Also in Toronto, some vehicles sat out of service for extended periods waiting for parts. The bus may be a perfectly good vehicle, but if you cannot service it for lack of readily available spare parts, it’s not worth having.

    As for why the focus on BYD and not Proterra, well, Proterra has had problems in many cities and does not sell itself aggressively as the one and only answer to transit’s needs. In Toronto BYD reps showed up sounding like used car salesmen. After their presentation, they were congratulating each other on the good fortune that would come their way for what they clearly expected would be an instant sale without competition. I will not speculate on whether palms were greased, but it was an unsavoury experience watching them as I did from about 20 feet away.

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  8. This is radical, I know, but hear me out. What if you came up with a way to skip the batteries and pull the electricity from the grid? Maybe string a pair of wires over the street? Have some kind of device that rides on the wires connected to the bus by a cable, kind of like trolling for fish, but trolling for electricity? I think this could work!!

    Aside from that, doing a DBOM deal — the original street railway in Toronto was a DBOM deal, don’t forget — with the power company seems to me (as I’ve said here, pretty sure), the way forward for transit systems looking to decarbonize. *I* don’t think on-board power storage (beyond, say, capacity for ~500 m of off-wire emergency use) is worth bothering with when we already know how to build buses that run on electricity that *don’t* use literally tons of batteries.

    #JustStringWires

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  9. Steve said that there is no indication that BYD has been excluded. That’s because BYD has not been excluded. Only Proterra and Nova have been excluded. NFI has not been excluded either.

    Steve: It would be intriguing to know why Nova was excluded, assuming your info is correct.

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  10. I think plaws0 is on to something. And that’s exactly why it won’t happen. 1993 was the final straw for me when the TTC killed trolleybuses forever.

    Steve: And, of course, that was a conspiracy between TTC management who hated TBs, MTO boffins who needed a “new technology project”, the natural gas industry who had a surplus looking for a market, and Ontario Bus Industries desperate for an untendered contract.

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  11. How shocked would you be, Steve, if Nova Bus wins the contract for the ebuses?

    Steve: Not at all, but I would want to see the specs including actual in service performance data considering that they were not in the trial. What would be really shocking would be for BYD to get the whole thing.

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  12. In the “Green Bus Update”, I found TTC mentioned that:

    “The RFP has prescriptive conditions where the result may include splitting the 240 eBuses (base order) between two qualified proponents.”

    Looks like TTC will split the electric order to two manufacturers which is the same as what they did with the new hybrid bus order. This is obvious evidence that TTC intends to give a portion of the contract to a specific manufacturer as if TTC had already reached an agreement with that manufacturer. NFI should get part of this order based on the performance.

    If Nova has been excluded, the only reason TTC can give is they have insufficient trial on it. But I’ve heard from some people that Nova indeed have been excluded, although I’m not sure if the rumour is accurate.

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  13. Your write-up makes it sound like Toronto has a choice in moving to electric buses or not. In reality, Toronto has no choice. We all need to shut off the fossil fuels as quickly as possible, and the only technology available to do it right now is electric buses. The technology may not be perfect. It might be more expensive than diesel or hybrid buses. In the end, it doesn’t matter because Toronto has no choice but to make this transition as quickly as possible. Given that the Ford government is offering subsidies to gas cars and building new highways, car emissions will likely rise, and we’ll need to reduce emissions in transit to balance things out.

    @Robinson I assume that if a less reliable manufacturer like BYD or Proterra looks like they might win the full order, then the TTC will split the order with a bigger player in order to reduce the risk. They need to be included in the bidding to force NFI to offer its best prices, but the TTC might not want to put all their eggs in their baskets if they win.

    Steve: There is no question that Toronto is moving to electric buses, but I fear that the true cost of doing so, especially until the technology matures, is being downplayed possibly at the expense of future service. The special subsidies for eBuses won’t last forever, just as the special subsidies for Covid recovery will be winding down. Both of these come just as the added expense of new rapid transit lines comes on stream. It’s all very well for us to be as green as possible, but the big emissions saving from transit comes from moving people out of their cars, and that means more service. Will we be able to, or want to, spend the money needed to make transit truly attractive, and not just along a few rapid transit lines?

    I also worry that the TTC, with a long history of being a “leader” who doesn’t need to seek advice from anyone else, will ignore a lot of the work done in other large systems. After all, remember that they launched into their own eBus trial totally unaware that Vancouver had already produced a major report on electrification. Maybe the telegraph wires over the mountains were broken that day.

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  14. Ming said that:

    “Your write-up makes it sound like Toronto has a choice in moving to electric buses or not. In reality, Toronto has no choice.”

    Well, yes they do. I swear Steve wrote a few months ago on the e-buses that Toronto’s current diesel buses make up a tiny fraction of the city’s overall emissions – like orders of magnitude less than auto traffic. The argument presented at the time, and one I find very convincing, is that the money would actually be (much) better spent on buying more regular buses than less e-buses, because the TTCs role in reducing pollution is getting people out of cars – not in improving their own fleet.

    I cannot remember the exact figures but I believe when I did the math at the time, it was a clear slam dunk for “more buses” Vs “greener buses” as making the better environmental impact, and doing so with less risk as an added bonus.

    To flip things around a bit…if the TTC gambles with electric, loses, and ridership plummets as a result…that will be far worse for the environment overall than if they just don’t switch to electric at all. It’s unlikely, but not as unlikely as you might think given the overall economic climate right now (and specifically the TTC).

    Steve: Yes, there is something of a bandwagon effect going on right now where (a) buying buses is something transit systems know how to do, (b) there is federal money available, and (c) it requires absolutely no change in motorists’ behaviour, it is politically attractive to “do something” by buying eBuses. This is happening at a time when the TTC has an embarrassing surplus of buses (of any kind) and is not running as much service as they could because there is no budget headroom on the operations side. Even the “green” fleet plans only provide for modest service growth.

    We have seen natural gas buses, then hybrid buses, and now electric buses. What we have not seen is an aggressive move to expand service (and I am thinking of pre-covid days).

    Frankly, I think that it suits the TTC and City to lie about how much service we could have if only we would be willing to pay for it, and to better manage the service we already have. That won’t attract a fat special subsidy, nor will it attract manufacturers eager for the graft available in new technology projects.

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  15. I think that it is too risky to order from Nova Bus without a trial. Why don’t we first do a small trial involving Nova Bus electric buses to see if they even work?

    Steve: Nova Bus has been producing electric buses for a while now. The only reason they were not in the TTC trial was that, at the time it started, they did not have a long-range vehicle. Now they do, and, yes, a trial would definitely be worthwhile. Brampton is already running some (as well as New Flyers), and Halifax has just ordered 60 of them.

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  16. In my view, TTC is so aggressive in buying ebuses same as what many cities in other countries are doing (especially those in East Asian and European countries), is a reflection of following the current political trend to achieve so-called politically correctness. So actually TTC has no choice but to buy ebuses although we all now they have a lot of drawbacks which are not easy to solve in the near future.

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  17. I heard that if BYD does not get this order, then their factory right here in the GTA will shut down and hundreds of our neighbours will be jobless. This should be kept in mind when awarding the contract. We have a choice to make. Do we want to keep good manufacturing jobs right here in the GTA or do we want to ship the rest of our manufacturing sector (whatever remains of it) to India and China as well? BYD is a global player, NFI and Nova cannot compete with BYD on the global stage.

    Steve: I call BS on this claim. If BYD actually had hundreds of employees about to lose their jobs, they would be producing buses in large number already. They are not. As for manufacturing location, there are other established Canadian bus builders who already have Canadian employees. BYD got the TTC interested in their product with some unsavoury lobbying of a member of the TTC Board, and I would not care one bit if they were excluded.

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  18. Pat King wrote: NFI and Nova cannot compete with BYD on the global stage.

    Nova’s parent company is Volvo which is a global brand so there is no need for Nova to compete anywhere outside of North America. Likewise NFI has global presence through its Alexander Dennis division.

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  19. I have this from someone from Rick Leary’s office. The top two performing companies in the trial will split the e-bus order (half & half). This implies that Nova Bus is excluded. Proterra as the worst performer will also be excluded. This means that 150 e-buses will be ordered from BYD and 150 from NFI.

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  20. Steve: China may have thousands of eBuses in service, but the 10 BYDs we got were less than sterling in their performance, and there was poor vendor support.

    China has close to one million high quality electric buses in service with a majority of these from BYD. Sounds like the problem with the BYD buses in Toronto has to do with the poor quality workforce available here in Canada which was also the case with the now infamous Bombardier streetcars. Why don’t we order high quality electric buses directly from China? Sounds like people on this site are vehemently opposed to local GTA manufacturing as is evident by their opposition to BYD.

    Steve: When a supposedly international company cannot provide training materials in English, and cannot ship spare parts from its home base on a timely basis, that is not a problem with a local workforce. It’s also worth mentioning that Bombardier’s problems arose from their placing a substantial amount of work in a Mexican plant with an underskilled workforce and poor quality control. Overall Bombardier suffered from management problems with their preoccupation on the aircraft side to the detriment of their rail business.

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  21. All of you BYD shills and evangelists must be confused about this place. This is a minor blog in the grand scheme of things. We have no power here. You all should be saving your energy for the chambers at 100 Queen Street West.

    Steve: There are some here (including trolls whose posts never see the light of day) who think that I have a vast reach and influence and can affect the course of the universe. My aims are rather more modest.

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  22. TROLL
    I can call swanboats from the vasty deep.
    STEVE M
    Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them?

    ….Can also be applied by people waiting at a streetcar or bus stop. Although Waiting for Godot may be a better source.

    Steve: I don’t remember seeing any Swan Boats in Henry IV!

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