TTC hopes to replace its CLRV cars from 2012.

CANADA: On August 27 Toronto Transit Commission formally approved reopening the procurement process for 204 low-floor trams at an estimated cost of C$1·25bn. The initial attempt had attracted only two bids, both of which were deemed non-compliant.

A multi-phase bidding process will now be used, with Alstom, Bombardier and Siemens invited to participate. Technical requirements remain unchanged, and each of the companies has said it could build a tram that meets the requirements. However, Bombardier said it would not be making a new proposal.

The original Request for Proposals brought responses from Bombardier and Tram Power, a small British firm that had only built a single prototype. Both were rejected as non-compliant, in Bombardier's case because TTC said the European-style Flexity design offered would not have enough power to push a disabled tram uphill and could derail on Toronto's notoriously tight curves.

TTC estimated it would cost C$1bn to adapt the infrastructure to accommodate Bombardier's design. But Bombardier Vice-President Mike Hardt aggressively defended the company's product, charging that the specifications were 'ambiguous' and casting doubt on the agency's evaluation of the bid.

However, TTC had appointed a former associate chief justice as a fairness monitor to scrutinise TTC's responses, and he found that they were evaluated accurately and the requirements were clearly stated.

TTC said it 'believes the multi-phase bid process is the best option to ensure it obtains new trams that will meet the city's needs. It also allows for questions or concerns to be discussed without the rigors of a formal RFP process.'