June 15, 2012

Bart awards $US 631m rolling stock contract to Bombardier

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BOMBARDIER has signed a contract with the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (Bart) for the supply of 260 new metro cars. The order is worth $US 631m, but could rise to $US 1.5bn and the supply of 775 cars if all contract options are exercised. Bart will exercise the first option for 150 cars on June 25.

The new rolling stock, described by Bart as its "fleet of the future,"will eventually replace the Bart's entire existing fleet of 669 vehicles and provide capacity for the extension to San Jose which is scheduled to be completed in 2018 (IRJ January p22). Delivery of 10 pilot cars is due to take place in the spring of 2015, which will be followed by comprehensive testing on the Bart network. The remaining 250 cars will be delivered between early 2017 and spring 2019.

The cars, which will be manufactured at Bombardier's Plattsburgh plant, in New York state, will offer more doors to ease boarding and increased priority seating for the elderly and disabled passengers. The vehicles will be powered by Bombardier's Mitrac traction system and will be integrated with the company's Mitrac train control and management system. This includes internet protocol technology and will be supplied by Bombardier's Propulston and Controls unit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Bombardier was confirmed as the preferred bidder for the contract ahead of Alstom and Hyundai Rotem on April 25. But despite recording a higher overall score in the evaluation process which considered eight criteria, concerns were raised by union officials and Alstom of Bombardier's Buy American credentials with only 66% of components due to be produced in the United States compared with 95% of components on the equivalent Alstom car.

Alstom North America managing director Mr Guillaume Mehlman pledged to reduce the company's bid in order to secure the contract. However, following a three-hour hearing on May 10, Bart's board of directors decided to reject the proposal for another round of bids and award the contract to Bombardier.

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