The metro car contract: a depressing timeline

Just to recap:

(Projected):

  • January 2012: A judge rules that the “urgency” argument doesn’t hold up, and orders a call for bids on the new metro car contract. Bombardier-Alstom sues.
  • March 2012: The STM puts out a new call for bids, and 12 more companies come out of the blue to express interest.
  • May 2012: The STM picks Bombardier-Alstom as the winner of the bid. ZhuZhou, CAF and a bunch of other companies promptly sue.
  • September 2012: A judge rules something, but nobody reads the judgment and everyone just announces they’re going to sue each other.
  • October 2012: The Quebec people sue the government for incompetent mismanagement of their funds.
  • December 2012: The world comes to an end. All evil dies in the apocalypse. Civil courts stop functioning, and all lawsuits are dismissed.
  • April 2025: The first new metro cars are delivered. Quebec Premier Patrick Huard participates in a photo op and pretends it was all his doing.

38 thoughts on “The metro car contract: a depressing timeline

  1. Beeg

    Very handy timeline. Seems like the QC government made crucial errors at two points that have caused this ridiculous delay: the decision not to go to bid in the first place and the decision to double the size of the contract after awarding the bid. Of course the government, having learned its lesson, went ahead today and made the same mistake as in 2006, using the same stupid reasoning that got tossed out of court in the first place.

    And where would the corrupt QC government be without its Montreal henchman, Gerald Tremblay, coming to bat for them? From the Gazette: “Asked if he fears lawsuits from competing companies will cause further delays, Tremblay said, ‘I’m assuming that the Quebec government made due diligence on their decision.'”

    Dumbass.

    More importantly, Maclean’s is mean.

    Reply
  2. Gronkling

    Our local transport authority, never good at setting priorities, recently issued a plan for future development which ambitiously looks to replace the current early-80s scumshovels with new units ‘beginning’ in 2025. By which they mean start where you were circa May 2006. I can hardly wait.

    Reply
  3. Maria Gatti

    It is very depressing, but at the same time we really need the damned métro cars. I’m sure you’ve been squeezed into an orange line car somewhere between Crémazie and Jean-Talon, with all the new passengers from Laval!

    Reply
  4. James Lawlor

    Actually what the government has done is go back to the situation as it was in October 2009 for the original contract amount of 38 9-car trains with an option for 14 extra. There never was a 3rd or 4th round of bids. They said that they would issue a 3rd round but the government put a stop to it last week.

    Therefore the government can claim that the awarding of the contract is the result of of the original tender published in February 2008.

    Reply
  5. AlexH

    I have to say that in this case, the Charest government have put on their “big boy” pants and moved forward. The metro system is in desperate need of new rolling stock, costs to maintain the current “old” cars (the original 43 year old ones) is reaching a crisis point. They ball has been batted back and forth, we have listened to unsuitable bids by the Chinese company, and well, the time is to poop or get off the pot.

    Whatever legal costs and challenges come, the money saved on maintenance in the future with the new cars will more than make up for it. Quite simple, the Chinese company doesn’t have a leg to stand on (they are not bidding as per the contract), and the Spanish company did not participate in any of the earlier bids. The Quebec government has, correctly, chosen to go with the bids from late 2008 / 2009 that satisfy the needs to the transit company, while also fulfilling the needs of Quebec to employ local workers.

    As a bonus, when this contract comes to an end, they can prolong it as needed to continue to turn out as many cars are as needed (at the going price) until the entire fleet is replaced. That too would continue to employee Quebec workers, and would continue to have a positive influence on the local economy.

    Didn’t Nova Bus pretty much corner the market by being the only “quebec” supplier for buses? I can’t see where this would be very different.

    Reply
    1. ant6n

      I think the issue is that with the Alstom/Bombardier cartel we simply won’t get the best deal. I mean seriously – first Alstom sues because they want in, pretending that they want competition. After they win they make a joint bid with Bombardier, undermining the competition. It’s like Bombardier bought them in just to make sure the price won’t go down to market value.

      Both the Chinese Company and CAF probably would have been much cheaper, and they both would agree to build 60% in Quebec anyway.

      Bombardier is not a guarantor of Quebec jobs just like the other companies — Bombardier has shown that by laying off workers in Quebec this summer, and threatening to lay off the rest if they don’t get the contract. And this although they are internationally successful, getting all sorts of contracts.

      CAF won a contract to build metro cars for the Santiago metro, which is rubber-tyred and very similar to Montreals. They are building 180 cars for 250$ million (according to the spanish wiki entry on the santiage metro) — that.s 1.4$ million for each car, vs the current contract for the Montreal metro cars at 2.6$ million for each car. Maybe CAF couldn’t build them that cheap here, but it seems one should be able to get them maybe 30 to 40% cheaper with some real competition.

      Seriously, 550$ million in difference as the Gazette article suggests could pay a lot of welfare for those 1200 laid of workers – if they wouldn’t get hired by CAF in Quebec, since they would have to open up a new plant, anyway.

      Reply
      1. Jim J.

        Both the Chinese Company and CAF probably would have been much cheaper

        Not to disagree with your main point: a monopoly (the consortium is essentially a monopoly) guarantees a higher price than an open, competitive process.

        However, government couldn’t possibly have accepted the Chinese bid, because it didn’t conform to the specs: a rubber-tyred system. The Chinese company wanted to sell steel-wheeled system.

        The principle here, of course, is that bidders don’t get to dictate the specs on a government contract. No government (or, in this case, a quasi-government) could possibly accept that.

        As an example, if government puts out a bid for electric pencil sharpeners, and a bidder says, well, we don’t have electric pencil sharpeners, but we’ll sell you these manual pencil sharpeners, why should government be obligated to purchase them?

        Reply
        1. ant6n

          While I disagree, I think that for this discussion the Chinese bid is irrelevant. Talking about them is dodging the issue — CAF is going to save taxpayers 40%. More than a billion to replace the whole fleet…. And that only after Bombardier reduced their prize in fear of an open bid. If we had the original 3.3$ M cost per car, we could’ve paid almost 2$ billion more to replace the whole fleet compared to caf.

          Reply
          1. Jim J.

            I think we agree on your main point: the provincial government has foreclosed any notion of a competitive bid, and it’s generally accepted that this is going to result in a higher per-unit cost than if there was a truly open and competitive bid that adhered to reasonable specifications

            At the same time, the vendors themselves contribute to the idea of a competitive process. There is a responsibility on the potential bidders to submit bids that meet the specs of the contract. Vendors regularly – whether in the public or private sector – shoot themselves in the foot because they are unwilling or unable to meet the specs, but submit bids anyway, in some kind of misguided hope that they’ll magically be awarded the contract nonetheless. In the case of CAF, they should have realized that this was even more important, since they were going up against a local powerhouse of a competitor; i.e., Bombardier.

            So, CAF may have put in a lower bid, but it is not unreasonable for the government to insist on sourcing requirements and other technical specifications. If the vendor’s bid didn’t conform, then it’s really not contributing to an open and competitive process. However, in this instance, I suppose we’ll never know that for certain

            Along that same discussion, one can’t really say the Chinese company contributed to an open and competitive process either, because it was essentially attempting to force the STM to buy something that the STM didn’t want to purchase; i.e., a steel-wheeled system.

            It is difficult to lay this mess entirely at the feet of the STM and the provincial government.

            Reply
          2. ant6n

            AFAIK the only requirement caf didn’t fulfil was that a bidder has to have a rubber tyre metro system running somewhere for 5 years. Unforutunately caf’s contract to build the santiago metro cars is fairly recent.

            This particularl requirement would only allow alstom and bombardier to bid… so if you have an open bidding process, but you require specs that only allows one bidder; doesn’t that undermine the point of bidding?

            At the same time, caf claimed they would comply with sourcing requirements (60% made in quebec).

            Reply
          3. Jean Naimard

            One subjech that has not been tackled is whether CAF stuff is quality stuff that will last 40 years…

            For now, the Bombardier cars have been holding pretty well for the 36 years they’ve been in service. It’s a pity though that Vickers is no longer in business, because their cars are still going good after 46 years…

            Reply
      2. AlexH

        Well, yes, perhaps they could have obtained the cars at a lower price if they had gone back to an open tender. Please note, they have already been to open tender on this contract, and the STM and the government have been screwed around by companies unwilling to meet the specs, meet the requirements of local content, or both. We have spent the last 2 or 3 years following a painful series of red herrings, misdirections, and non-spec “ideas” that have just burned time.

        In the end, they needed to move forward. The last open tender had exactly ONE acceptable bid, and that bid has now been accepted. The Spanish company is too late (where were they 4 years ago?), the Chinese company isn’t bidding to spec (next!), and the remaining two players have submitted their joint bid.

        It will be 6 years from the start of this process before we even have a hope of riding in the new cars. Isn’t that long enough? We can prolong the process a few more years, the STM can continue to pay rising costs to maintain the current fleet (where they are forced to make components by hand because nobody makes them anymore), and we can look at what cost inflation will play on the overall contract. It’s time to act, it’s time to move ahead, and it’s time to stop turning in circles. You all want a better public transit system? Step up to the bar and pay the tab.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          they have already been to open tender on this contract, and the STM and the government have been screwed around by companies unwilling to meet the specs

          Though I’m not crying for any of the multi-billion-dollar companies involved here, it’s the government that decided to not open the contract to bids, then open it to bids and then change the terms of the contract and then open it to bids again and then cancel the bidding then open it to bids again and then cancel the bidding again. I don’t think the government is the one being screwed over here.

          Reply
          1. Jim J.

            “Many journalists have fallen for the conspiracy theory of government. I do assure you that they would produce more accurate work if they adhered to the cock-up theory.”

            —Sir Bernard Ingham

            Or, if you prefer, this variant: Hanlon’s Razor.

            “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

            Having worked in government most of my adult life, I have certainly seen instances of collusion, malice, self-dealing or attempted fraud. However, this is far outnumbered by the number of instances that I have seen outright incompetence or general stupidity.

            In this case, one could make the observation that the STM certainly made a hash out of this by bidding, pulling back, rebidding, changing the specs, etc., etc. One could easily make the similar argument that companies were just as stupid by submitting bids that didn’t meet the specs. Then the observation that the STM’s specs may have been designed specifically to exclude certain companies – or, more accurately, to include only one.

            However, this was all done in such an inartful, sloppy and inelegant way, that the inescapable conclusion is that they arrived, via incompetence in the manipulation of the process, at a result that could have been more easily arrived at through simple collusion.

            Brilliant!

            Reply
          2. Jean Naimard

            Jim J. has obviously never worked for the private sector, where the incompetence is even more widespread than in government, but is much more invisible.

            I have never worked in my whole life for a government, yet I have many times rigged bids to exclude some suppliers… (I was only following orders, of course).

            Reply
          3. Jim J.

            he private sector, where the incompetence is even more widespread than in government,

            My only observation is that, with the exception of those people who are in high-profile or highly visible positions, the consequences to the individual for incompetence or stupidity are much greater in the private sector than in the public sector.

            Reply
  6. Jean Naimard

    The liberal party of Québec is not interested in transit. It wants people to be chained to their cars, so the horde of car dealers, mechanics (all people who vote liberal) and oil companies can continue their gravy train at the expense of the population.

    And about the MacLean’s article, it’s interesting to note that the most corrupt governments in Québec are always federalist…

    Reply
  7. Suzanne

    There is obviously money being spread to government officials by Bombardier. There was obviously a phone call and someone got scared of the little Beaudoin. Wonder why? What i found terrible is that we will pay more and the this train will be mostly made in other parts of the world. The STM should have imposed on Bombardier that 100% made locally in Quebec and not in the French or German facilities. Ever travelled in Europe and experienced hoe everything is so expensive? Well this is why we will pay 30% more!
    At least with the other bidder they made an effort to get many Quebec firms involved with them. Bombardier is just crushing the prices of local compagnies, to pay for the exorbitant overhead of their European Headoffice. And no one says anything,!! No journalist have understood that the Lapocatiere plant will only do a little….. European plants and workers will get most of the work.

    Reply
    1. Xavier

      Suzanne, par la même logique, est-ce que les sociétés de transport des autres pays ou provinces devraient empêcher l’achat de matériel roulant made-in-Québec parce qu’il n’est pas fabriqué chez eux?

      Reply
      1. Jim J.

        To further Xavier’s comment….so, Suzanne, should Chicago and New York City stop buying Bombardier rail cars for their public transit networks? I mean, if they are made in Quebec, why should Chicago buy them? Why shouldn’t they exclude any rail cars that aren’t built in Illinois?

        The public transit authority where I live buys Nova Bus for their bus lines. Should they not do so, because it is Quebec-based? (To complicate things even further, Nova Bus is owned by Volvo group, so the profits ultimately flow to Sweden. Maybe the STM should instead look for a Quebec-owned company to make its buses.)

        Reply
    2. Jean Naimard

      Free-trade goes both ways.

      If we want Europe to buy our stuff (aircraft…), we oughta buy their stuff (electronic traction control…).

      Reply
  8. Pingback: Catbus» Blog Archive » Montreal metro cars: Bombardier wins contract, Taxpayers loose

  9. Fassero

    All I ever get out of this is living proof about why “public transportation” should be privatized. How Bombardier continously gets away with this kind of crap is ridiculous. At some point, a responsible Quebec government just needs to get away from flushing obscene amounts of money for what amounts to a handful of temporary jobs (since Bombardier cans them the second the contract expires) and just walk away and let the chips fall. The province got away from bankrolling carmakers years ago and, amazingly enough, the economy survived.

    Reply
    1. Jean Naimard

      Whenever a public service gets privatized, the quality goes down as the private operator will cut corners in order to put more money in his pockets.

      The south shore privatized out bus maintenance, and they got in return less buses on the road, because the maintainer would not stock parts so buses would sit idle waiting several days while the part was back-ordered. As soon as the contract ran out, they took back control of maintenance.

      Likewise, the stellar availability record of the old métro cars would most definitely never be achieved if a private company did the maintenance; in fact, people from all over the world are flocking to the STM to see how they manage to do it.

      No, in reality, people who bitch for privatization are only upset that the money spent goes into unionized workers’ pockets, and ultimately end-up in union coffers for it to support left-wing political regimes. Look no further for a reason, Fassero, you’d rather see transit privatized so the owners would send brown enveloppes to the liberal party because you cannot stand to see the Parti-Québécois being flush with union money.

      Reply
    2. ant6n

      I think the problem is not really the STM, but the Quebec government. I find it kind of fatalistic that you basically say public transportation run by the public can’t work, when the actual problem is a corrupt government. It sounds like you basically accept the political realities in Quebec as a fact that cannot be changed.

      Reply
      1. Fassero

        Actually, I don’t think the Quebec government is radically different than any other government when it comes to public transit procurement. Actually, Ontario pulled very similar junk with Bombardier a few years ago when it was in the market for new transit vehicles. Mr. Naimard’s high-falutin’ conspiracy theories aside, the typical argument against privitazation of mass transit is the pursuit of profit. So what? That’s worse than the present where it is highly acknowledged that mass transit is unprofitable despite massive taxpayer-funded subsidization? This is despite the fact that at least 75 percent of provincial taxpayers will never even SEE a metro car let alone ride one in their life. And 99 percent plus of the province certainly does not garner any economic benefit, wage or otherwise, from the contracts themselves. This contract alone is costing at least $1 billion more than it should (probably more than double that for reasons astutely pointed out by Henry Aubin – whom I’m actually not a big fan of more times than not – this morning in the Gazette.) That’s a heck of a lot of money that could do a heck of a lot of more public good – whether it be on healthcare, doctors, decaying schools or all of them.

        A few days ago, I watched a debate from Quebec City on television about that whole arena funding issue up there. When someone brought up the point about why private funding for such a playpen can’t be found, the mayor remarked (en francais but I’ll translate) “because it cannot be profitable”. Gee Sherlock, then how about scaling it down to a price that might actually MAKE it profitable? I have no idea what the Chinese or the Spanish really have but somebody with an actual brain cell to burn should stop wasting time drafting a ridiculous “Bombardier gets the deal so there!” bill and go right to Bombardier-Alstrom and say “Okay, what exactly could YOU build for $1.4 million or so a car?”

        In the meantime, the city has a public transit network put together entirely out of what is politically useful instead of what even it’s users need or want. So Laval can keep holding the STM hostage, the west island continues to have basically no service at all, and screw Longueil or Anjou or any of the demerged suburbs because they are pretty much dead zones for the PQ and easy pickings no matter what for the Liberals.

        Privatize the whole thing and use (what would be a miniscule) part of the proceeds to set up road tolls into Montreal. It wouldn’t make Bombardier happy (it’s so much easier to bribe a government and have them by their collective scrotum for 30 years than all those pesky, and mostly private, airliners who keep tearing up or modifying contracts) but they’d get over it in due course.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          it is highly acknowledged that mass transit is unprofitable despite massive taxpayer-funded subsidization

          True, though it was never designed to be. Road and sewer construction aren’t profitable either, neither are police or fire protection or health care.

          This is despite the fact that at least 75 percent of provincial taxpayers will never even SEE a metro car let alone ride one in their life.

          And I’ll rarely ride on the soon-to-be-built Highway 30, and I’ll probably never use Highway 132 in the Gaspé region, but my provincial tax dollars pay for those too.

          In the meantime, the city has a public transit network put together entirely out of what is politically useful instead of what even it’s users need or want. So Laval can keep holding the STM hostage, the west island continues to have basically no service at all, and screw Longueil or Anjou or any of the demerged suburbs because they are pretty much dead zones for the PQ and easy pickings no matter what for the Liberals.

          I think you’re exaggerating here. Sure, the metro extension to Laval had political motivations, but other areas haven’t been abandoned. The STM has increased service on the West Island – particularly on the 470 bus route. And of the three proposed metro extensions, one is through Longueuil and the other is in the direction of Anjou.

          As for road tolls, Montreal’s mayor makes the point that an increase in gas tax accomplishes the sam revenue increase without any of the infrastructure costs of a toll system.

          Reply
          1. AlexH

            Gas taxes are favored by the mayor because they punish all road users equally. I think we can both agree that the mayor dislikes cars and doesn’t want any in the city unless they have to be there. I don’t think he is giving up his car service and driver, but that is different. Toll roads are created to discourage certain types of travel. They are important in a place like Montreal that is an island with limited access. Tolls would allow the city to tax non-residents while not punishing people living in the city.

            But then you see stories like this:

            http://lcn.canoe.ca/lcn/infos/regional/archives/2010/10/20101008-071015.html or http://www.westislandchronicle.com/Commuting/2008-02-13/article-634597/Parking-problems-prevail/1

            and you realize that the politicians just aren’t getting it. If you want to get people out of cars and onto public transit, you have to make it possible for them to do it. Make more parking available in these locations, and more people will take the transit. Make it easy. Angrinon is another great example, a big parking lot this is about 70% full, because, well, they charge too much to use it ($5 a day), and access in and out is through a single lane each direction, the exit time that only allows a few cars out per cycle. 5PM on the average work day, it can take 20 minutes to get out of the parking lot. What’s up with that? When you add up the cost of parking, the cost in time to get out of the parking lot, and the monthly bus pass, well, it’s probably not cost effective (or time effective) compared to just driving your car the rest of the way downtown.

            Reply
          2. Fassero

            it is highly acknowledged that mass transit is unprofitable despite massive taxpayer-funded subsidization

            True, though it was never designed to be. Road and sewer construction aren’t profitable either, neither are police or fire protection or health care.

            You’re going to correlate transit with infrastructure and health care? Seriously?!?!?!

            This is despite the fact that at least 75 percent of provincial taxpayers will never even SEE a metro car let alone ride one in their life.

            And I’ll rarely ride on the soon-to-be-built Highway 30, and I’ll probably never use Highway 132 in the Gaspé region, but my provincial tax dollars pay for those too.
            Look at the bright side – you won’t be ponying up the ROAD TOLLS that will be charged on Highway 30 like those who think it’s useful will. And, hey, if you’re going to pick nits about pre-existing highways, it’s always good to shoot for the moon and go at the teeny tiny 1,600 or so kilometre one (which is more or less just the predecessor to autoroute 20.) Hey, why not go after 13 and 15 while you’re at it? Ooops, I forgot – those were operated on road tolls until their capital costs were recuperated.

            I think you’re exaggerating here. Sure, the metro extension to Laval had political motivations, but other areas haven’t been abandoned. The STM has increased service on the West Island – particularly on the 470 bus route. And of the three proposed metro extensions, one is through Longueuil and the other is in the direction of Anjou.

            Emphasis on “proposed”. And paying lip service by adding a couple of buses to run along already congested routes is not exactly doing much (and far more expensive to do than caving to the obvious by, for instance – and heaven forbid – actually adding more parking spaces to even existing stations.

            As for road tolls, Montreal’s mayor makes the point that an increase in gas tax accomplishes the sam revenue increase without any of the infrastructure costs of a toll system.

            And, of course, the mayor couldn’t possibly be wrong. I guess we’re going to find out later this year that he’s raked in so much revenue increases from gas taxes that Montreal residents will have no worries about the new assessment rolls because there will be no tax increases and, in fact, all kinds of cuts now that this new revenue machine is raking in the cash. And transit fare increases? No WAY! :)

            Reply
        2. Jean Naimard

          Mr. Naimard’s high-falutin’ conspiracy theories aside, the typical argument against privitazation of mass transit is the pursuit of profit.

          Until about the end of World War II, the Montréal Tramways Company was so profitable, it had money coming out the wazoo (and who would not, with a fleet that dated from anywhere from 20 to 40 years before?). Then, people started buying the cars buit thanks to the surplus industrial capacity freed at the end of hostilities, and the people began demanding roads, which the government obligingly delivered (remember, this was the Duplessis era, where votes were mostly gathered with roads). The increasing mobility begat sprawl and that drove the MTC in the red, and the city had to buy it in 1952, creating the Montréal Transportation Commission (which had the advantage of having the same acronym).
          Public transportation was profitable until the competition was subsidized. Now, if the roads were privatized, would there be so many road traffic? Doubtful, because motorists would have to bear the full cost of their gasoline addiction.
          The corollary being, of course, if cars diminish sufficiently in numbers, public transit will become profitable again. And that is not such a foolish proposition when 20% of the gross economic output of Québec is siphonned-off thanks to road transport. With such a high figure, it is totally insane that we do not tap the world’s largest transit vehicle manufacturer that so happens to be conveniently located here.

          So what? That’s worse than the present where it is highly acknowledged that mass transit is unprofitable despite massive taxpayer-funded subsidization? This is despite the fact that at least 75 percent of provincial taxpayers will never even SEE a metro car let alone ride one in their life.

          What a preposterous affirmation in the light of that 50% of the country’s population is in the Montréal region, and therefore within reach of the métro!

          And 99 percent plus of the province certainly does not garner any economic benefit, wage or otherwise, from the contracts themselves.

          Every car that is off the road benefits everyone with less danger to life (accidents) and health (pollution), economically (20% of economic output siphonned-off). You must be quite a carhead with neurons dissolved by gas fumes to make such an outrageous statement.
          The main benefit is, of course, the money that goes to Bombardier and stays in Québec; compare this to the road transport money that is permanently gone!

          This contract alone is costing at least $1 billion more than it should (probably more than double that for reasons astutely pointed out by Henry Aubin – whom I’m actually not a big fan of more times than not – this morning in the Gazette.) That’s a heck of a lot of money that could do a heck of a lot of more public good – whether it be on healthcare, doctors, decaying schools or all of them.

          No, really, what bothers you (and Zie Gazette, daß Montrealrhödesische zeitung) is that this money is not siphonned off to Ontario, Alberta or the USA, and thus eventually stands to end up supporting the abhorred separatist evil Parti Québécois (through union contributions) that will further undermine canadian “sovereignty” on Québec.

          A few days ago, I watched a debate from Quebec City on television about that whole arena funding issue up there. When someone brought up the point about why private funding for such a playpen can’t be found, the mayor remarked (en francais but I’ll translate) "because it cannot be profitable". Gee Sherlock, then how about scaling it down to a price that might actually MAKE it profitable?

          That’s total bollocks. Of course, any arena built with public funds is extremely profitable! Any circus that helps distract the people from politics is a godsend to those who would rather not see how they are screwing the people with the help of their little puppets in the parliament, and those puppets know it very well, hence their inclination to pay for the circus infrastructure with the public purse.
          Actually, the reaction of the Canadian Reform Alliance Party’s führer, Stephen Harper, to the effect that the government should not fund circus arenæs is quite puzzling, unless this is to suck-up more votes from the french-hating regions of Canada.

          I have no idea what the Chinese or the Spanish really have but somebody with an actual brain cell to burn should stop wasting time drafting a ridiculous "Bombardier gets the deal so there!" bill and go right to Bombardier-Alstrom and say "Okay, what exactly could YOU build for $1.4 million or so a car?"

          $1.4 million per car will probably get you a baggage car with either wooden benches or some straw bales on the floor. Hopefully, the métro bylaws will be amended to allow musicians to perform on board so we can have barn parties while travelling; this will beat the boredom of looking at tunnels or at the fellow passengers.

          In the meantime, the city has a public transit network put together entirely out of what is politically useful instead of what even it’s users need or want.  So Laval can keep holding the STM hostage, the west island continues to have basically no service at all, and screw Longueil or Anjou or any of the demerged suburbs because they are pretty much dead zones for the PQ and easy pickings no matter what for the Liberals

          Yeah, the waste-island has as much service as it’s brainless nimby politicians have been asking for. After all, they don’t want transit, because it’s for the poor people and poor people give a bad impression wherever they go, so they better not go to the waste-island. After all, it’s not all the suburbs that have the balls of Ville Mont-Royal to erect a fence to prevent the unwashed hordes from Park-Extension from roaming their streets, except perhaps Kirkland with that gate near Château Pierrefonds, or Montréal Waste that blocks Des Étables street.

          Privatize the whole thing and use (what would be a miniscule) part of the proceeds to set up road tolls into Montreal. It wouldn’t make Bombardier happy (it’s so much easier to bribe a government and have them by their collective scrotum for 30 years than all those pesky, and mostly private, airliners who keep tearing up or modifying contracts) but they’d get over it in due course.

          Road tolls are utterly stupid. All they do is add a layer of bureaucracy to collect them. No, the real solution is a higher gas tax; this way, those who pollute more (drive more, faster or heavier vehicles) are directly penalized.

          Reply
  10. Kevin

    How can Charest and Hamad be so stupid. STM invited bids in what, March? The open tender was supposed to take place this week!
    If they had let the tender go through, and selected Bombardier, there would have been anger, but at least it would be predictable. Now they just look like a bunch of corrupt nepotists.

    Reply
    1. AlexH

      Kevin, the problem is this: One or more of the other companies that have expressed interest would submit bids at lower costs, most likely that would not entirely meet the requirements or would have some sort of nuance to them (anything from steel wheels to weird definitions of local content). When rejected (losing the bid), they would seek an injunction to stop the contract from going forward and would sue the government. This is a process that could take a few years to wander through again, considering it might be more than one company.

      What the Quebec government has done is simple: they have passed a law, and in doing so, they have limited some of the choices on legal action. Those choices are unlikely to include getting an injunction against the contract going forward. So they may have to pay legal, they may have to deal with it, but in the mean time, Montreal will start to get new metro cars within 24 months.

      It is better to look like corrupt nepotists with new metro cars, then to be the straight shooter with nothing but nice pictures and legal costs.

      As an aside, this is one of those cases where the Parti Quebecois is remarkably silent, because they would do exactly the same thing, if not more. Heck, they would have no only awarded the contract, but given tax free dollars to Bombardier to build a new plant to build them. Let’s count ourselves lucky they are the official (silent) opposition on this one.

      Reply
  11. chuck

    I think Charest had little choice but to unilaterally award the contract to Bombardier as his popularity has been very low lately. Bu doing this he is appearing to take a strong stand and it alos keeps jobs and profits in quebec which is important. probably the rolling stock will cost a little more but tax dollars will be paid into quebec.

    Reply

Leave a Reply