Transit turns to Bombardier
Published: November 7, 2007
Source: JEFF GRAY, Globe and Mail
TORONTO GO Transit lambasted for
delays in recent years plans to hire Montreal-based transportation
giant Bombardier to crew most of its trains, a move it says will improve
customer service and help its locomotives run on time.
We're trying to seek the best value for the taxpayer and our
customers, said Bill Jenkins, GO Transit's director of customer
service, in an interview, adding that the new contact will also make it
easier for GO to add more trains.
Under the terms of the five-year contract, Bombardier which beat out
SNC-Lavalin and London-based Veolia Transportation will charge GO
$23.9-million a year. GO officials say that will save them millions of
the course of deal, which goes to GO's board on Friday for approval, but
they wouldn't say precisely how much.
GO, a provincial crown agency, has blamed its long-standing problems
both on winter weather and on the complicated set of 40-year-old
arrangements it had in place that saw the country's two big railway
firms, Canadian National Railway Co. and Canadian Pacific Railway,
actually operate GO's trains.
GO Trains were plagued by labour strife last winter, after GO asked CN
to reduce the number of crew members from four to three, which upset
some workers and resulted in delays. The system also suffered with
intriguingly frequent absenteeism on Fridays in the summer, forcing
trains to be cancelled and causing delays.
While the new workers will be unionized, just like CN's, the deal will
be better structured to satisfy commuters, Mr. Jenkins said. For
example, if a train cannot run because a crew member does not show up
for work, Bombardier would have to pay a financial penalty.