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Despite Delays, BART Hopes To Receive New Railcars Ahead Of Schedule

Despite Delays, BART Hopes To Receive New Railcars Ahead Of Schedule
New BART car (right). | Photo: Bay Area Rapid Transit
By Teresa Hammerl - Published on October 27, 2017.

As we reported yesterday, the first new BART railcars recently passed safety tests and are nearly ready to enter service around Thanksgiving.

But KTVU has published results of an investigation uncovering more details about "delays, missed deadlines, and undelivered promises" by Bombardier, the Canadian supplier that's projected to receive $2.5 billion for the new cars.

According to the report, Bombardier struggled to deliver trains on time to New York City and shipped unfinished cars to Toronto, Canada, which had attempted to void its contract with the company. The investigation suggests that multiple other transit agencies experienced delivery delays, raising the question if BART should have expected them as well.

Via email, BART Spokesperson Alicia Trost said that while the first ten pilot cars arrived later than expected, Bombardier is ready to go with production and has also agreed to increase its monthly delivery rate.

BART signed the $1.5 billion contract five years ago, but costs are now estimated at $2.5 billion. The original project timeline hoped for 60 new cars by 2017.

John Garnham, BART's project director for the new cars, told KTVU that his agency has "a fixed price for each vehicle. Any of the problems are on Bombardier to fix. It’s on their dime."

Trost said she's hopeful that the last of the new cars will arrive in 2020. "Based on this new schedule, the final vehicle will arrive 21 months earlier than the original schedule," she said. "We have [a] per-day, per-car penalty built into the contract if Bombardier is late on their final delivery."

KTVU notes that Bombardier won't be excluded from future bids by the transit agency, while state Senator Steve Glazer said the transit agency's management should be held responsible for the slowdown because they selected the manufacturer.