The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Agency in San Francisco, US, has recommended Bombardier as the recipient of a $2.5bn contract to build 775 new railcars.
The decision was made despite the Canadian firm coming under criticism in recent months for providing faulty parts in Chicago subway cars, as well as its unwillingness to build a large percentage of the railcars in the US as required under federal ‘Buy America’ legislation.
However, Bombardier has offered to build the railcars at 12% or $184m less than rival French manufacturer Alstom, which is one of the three companies competing to design and build the 775 railcars alongside South Korea’s Rotem.
The company will only build 66% of 775 newrail cars in the US, which has led some proponents to prefer Alstom’s offer to build 95% of the new trains in the country.
BART General Manager Grace Crunican said that the company understands the importance of the ‘Build in America’ movement and the urgency of putting Americans back to work.
"It’s why our board adopted the nation’s first Buy America Bid Preference Policy," Crunican said."Bombardier took that policy to heart and responded, while never losing sight of the importance of price, quality and reliability.
"BART has evaluated bidders on eight different factors, which includes price being the main criteria, under its 31-month-long procurement process.
The evaluation process included checks and balances to decrease the possibility that any one criteria or evaluator could have controlling effect on the overall scoring; Bombardier had the top score of 79.7 in the rating system.
Bombardier’s bid of $1.54bn for all 775 cars beat Alstom’s offer of $1.73bn and Rotem / Hyundai’s proposal of $2.8bn.
A total of 410 new cars will be built, with the first 260 new cars costing $2.4m each and the remaining 150 costing $1.8m; the average price is $2.2m a car.
The BART board is expected to discuss the contract recommendation at its meeting on 10 May this year.
The first car off the assembly line is expected to go into service in 2017, while all the 410 cars of the initial order could be delivered by 2020.
Image: Bombardier has offered to build 66% of 775 new railcars in the US compared to Alstom’s offer of building 95% of the new trains in the country. Photo: courtesy of BART.