LRT will not be ready for Canada Day, says OC Transpo boss

Manager of transit operations John Manconi says the LRT system will not be ready by the previously promised date of June 30.

Manconi made the announcement at the finance and economic development committee at city hall on Tuesday.

According to Manconi, the delay comes after the Rideau Transit Group asked for two additional weeks after the May 31 deadline to come up with a new handover date. No new date has been given.

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In order for the handover to proceed and RTG to begin its testing, it needs to achieve “substantial completion” which is a state of operation that means all elements need to be completed such as the stations and rails.

According to Manconi, one major element of concern with the state of completion is the availability of the fleet.

Manconi says that in order for substantial completion to be met with the fleet the trains need to be virtually defect-free and they need to be reliable.

Two of those defects that are proving to be time-consuming are doors that keep sticking and brake-pressure valves that all need to be replaced on every train.

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After substantial completion is met, then RTG will enter trial running which calls for 12 consecutive days of running at a normal service schedule in which they must test the scheduling, reliability and availability of the trains.

This is the fourth time the project has been delayed and, as a result, Manconi says RTG has not been paid their milestone payments yet and if RTG misses the date for the new deadline after the two-week delay there will be a $1 million penalty.

A fare freeze has been proposed and will be voted on at a future city council meeting. Any costs incurred by the city in relation to this fare freeze will be deducted from the payment to RTG.

Mayor Jim Watson, who chairs FEDCO, says he’s fed up with the delays and the excuses being given by the builders of the system.

“Certainly we are putting enormous pressure on the consortium, they are not being paid which is the biggest club we have against this consortium who has not lived up to our expectations,” said Watson.

WATCH: Ottawa city councillors, staff invited to experience LRT simulator

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