Flexity Outlook (Toronto streetcar)

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Flexity Outlook
Flexity outlook 4403 heading south, 2014 08 31 (8) (14918534190).jpg
Flexity Outlook 4403 on route 510 Spadina
In service2014–present
ManufacturerBombardier Transportation
Built at
Family nameFlexity
ReplacedCanadian Light Rail Vehicle, Articulated Light Rail Vehicle
Entered serviceAugust 31, 2014[1]
Number under construction204 ordered[1]
Formation5 articulated cars
Fleet numbers4400–4603
Capacity70 (seats), 181 (standing), 251 total[2]
Operator(s)Toronto Transit Commission
Depot(s)Leslie Barns, Roncesvalles Carhouse
Line(s) servedToronto streetcar system
Car body constructionStainless Steel
Train length30.20 m (99 ft 1 in)[1]
Car length28 m (91 ft 10 in)[1]
Width2.54 m (8 ft 4 in)[1]
Height3.84 m (12 ft 7 in)
Doors4 (right side only)[1]
Articulated sections5[1]
Maximum speed70 km/h (43 mph)
Weight48,200 kg (106,300 lb)
Electric system(s)600 V DC[1] Overhead trolley wire[1]
Current collection methodTrolley pole,[1] pantograph[3]
Minimum turning radius11 metres (36.09 ft)[1]
Track gauge4 ft 10 78 in (1,495 mm) TTC gauge[1]

The Flexity Outlook is the latest model in the rolling stock of the Toronto streetcar system owned by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). Based on the Flexity Outlook vehicles used in several European cities, the new streetcars were first ordered in 2009 and are built by Bombardier Transportation in Thunder Bay and Kingston, Ontario, Canada, with specific modifications for Toronto, such as unidirectional operation and the ability to operate on the unique broad Toronto gauge (4 ft 10 78 in / 1,495 mm).

As of June 23, 2019, the new Flexity Outlook streetcars operate on routes 501 Queen (mainly between Humber Loop and Neville Park Loop), 504 King, 509 Harbourfront, 510 Spadina, 512 St. Clair and are being rolled out on route 511 Bathurst as more arrive. They are expected to serve all streetcar lines across the TTC network by 2020, replacing all of the older streetcar rolling stock,[4] the iconic[5] Canadian Light Rail Vehicle (CLRV) and Articulated Light Rail Vehicle (ALRV) streetcars, which have been used since the 1970s and 1980s, respectively. The Flexity Outlook vehicles are currently stored at Leslie Barns and at Roncesvalles Carhouse as well.

The Flexity Outlook is the first modern low-floor and wheelchair accessible streetcar used in the city. With a length of over 30 metres (98 ft), they are also the largest streetcars in the system. They have four sliding doors, air conditioning systems, seating for up to 70 passengers, and interior bicycle racks.[6][7] The new streetcars include two on-board fare and transfer vending machines (FTVMs) along with ticket validators, Presto card readers and introduced the use of proof-of-payment (POP) system.

Toronto's future light rail lines (such as the Line 5 Eglinton, to open in 2021) will use the Flexity Freedom light rail vehicle, which—like the Flexity Outlook—is also a low-floor wheelchair accessible vehicle. The two models are not compatible for several reasons, including track gauge.


Flexity Outlook #4402

The vehicle is based on Bombardier's standardized Flexity Outlook product, which is also used in cities like Brussels, Marseille, and Geneva, but tailored to Toronto's needs. The vehicles use the TTC's track gauge rather than standard gauge, and trolley poles using 600 V DC for power collection. Other design requirements such as the ability to handle tight turning radii and single-point switches,[8] climb steep hills and valleys, clearance, and ability to upgrade into a more modern pantograph current collection system were factored into the design. The Flexity Outlook is almost twice as long as the TTC's older streetcars and has five articulated sections.[1]

Fare collection[edit]

The new Flexity streetcars are equipped with two fare vending and ticket validator machines located beside the middle doors

In the Flexity vehicles, the operator is not responsible for fare collection and normally does not provide paper transfers to passengers, since the operator sits inside a closed cab. As such, a proof-of-payment (POP) system is used at all times.[9] The POP system requires passengers to carry proof that they have paid their fares, such as a validated concessionary TTC senior or youth ticket, paper transfer or Presto card. This is enforced via random spot-checks by the TTC's fare enforcement officers, either on-board the cars or upon arrival at designated subway stations.

The Flexity vehicles include two fare and transfer vending machines (FTVM) where passengers can pay their fares by cash (coins only, no change provided) or tokens, and obtain a paper POP transfer. From January 2016 until December 2018, FTVMs also accepted payments by contactless credit and debit cards. The Flexities were the only surface vehicles in the TTC network where this form of payment was accepted; however, this feature was removed because it caused FTVMs to malfunction.[10] Passengers using concessionary senior or youth tickets must have their ticket stamped with the date and time by inserting the ticket inside a separate "TTC Ticket Validator" box located beside the FTVM, which then acts as POP. These machines are situated beside the double-doors in the second and fourth modules of each car. Since November 30, 2014, the new streetcars have Presto card readers, with one at each door and two at each of the double-doors.[11]

Audible warning signals[edit]

The Flexity streetcars are equipped with a bell/gong and a horn (which can be heard from both ends of the vehicle).

Instead of the mechanical gongs used on older vehicles, the Flexity vehicles use an amplified digital recording of a gong. They are also the first vehicles to have built-in electronic horns fleet-wide upon delivery, while most of the CLRV and ALRV streetcars had their horns installed in the late 1990s.

Destination sign[edit]

The Flexity streetcars are the TTC's first streetcars to be outfitted with amber digital LED destination and run number signs rather than manually operated roller blinds used on older vehicles. The destination signs are posted at the front, rear, and sides of the vehicle, which identify the route number, name, and destination. Older vehicles only display the route number and destination. The Flexity streetcars also display two blue bullseye lights on the front to indicate that they are accessible vehicles.

Automated voice announcement system[edit]

As with all TTC vehicles, the Flexity streetcars have on-board automated audible/visual next stop announcements, which are broadcast over the vehicle's interior public address system and on overhead signs. They are the first TTC vehicles to be outfitted with external PA systems that announce the vehicle's route and destination, and it can be used for live operator-based public service announcements.


As the Flexity streetcars are the TTC's first low-floor streetcars, they are accessible for passengers using mobility devices. Only one step is needed to board at any door, and an extendable loading ramp for users in wheelchairs, strollers or other mobility devices is located at the second set of doors of the vehicle. The passenger can signal the operator to deploy the ramp by pressing the blue wheelchair accessibility button by the inside or outside of this door.[8]

The ramp has two modes: if the streetcar stop is alongside a curb or raised platform, only a short portion is extended (the operator can open the ramp either from inside the driver booth or from the outside of the vehicle); if only street level is available, the operator will exit the vehicle and a further length of the ramp would extend to allow access at that level.[8]

According to Greg Ernst, TTC's chief streetcar engineer, each Flexity streetcar deploys its ramp four times a day on average.[12]

Bike rack[edit]

The Flexity streetcars have a bike rack, which is located by the third doors inside the vehicle.

Wheel squeal[edit]

The Flexity cars are equipped with an on-board wheel lubrication system to reduce squeal when the cars go around sharp curves. The TTC is also developing a wheel-mounted noise damping ring to further reduce high-pitch squeal, and hopes to begin prototype testing in the fourth quarter of 2017. The TTC is working to install improved lubrication system units at streetcar loops that are activated by the passage of a Flexity car. These provide partial solutions to the problem. Other factors affecting wheel squeal on Flexity cars are:[13]

  • The sharper the radius, the greater the chance of squealing.
  • Weather conditions such as rain, humidity and temperature fluctuation can affect streetcar noise levels.
  • Rainfall and other forms of precipitation washes lubricant away.


On September 29, 2014, Chris Bateman, writing in the Toronto Life magazine, described a new simulator that was being installed in the Hillcrest Complex to train drivers on the Flexity vehicles. It replaces an analogue trainer used to train drivers on the CLRVs. The system allows drivers to simulate navigating the TTC's entire streetcar routes, depicting landmark buildings and structures, including the CN Tower in the Railway Lands and El Mocambo at the northern end of Chinatown with most of the buildings along the simulated route being generic. The simulator has a full-scale Flexity cab with the windshield replaced by a curved computer graphics screen. The trainee in the cab can hear simulated street sounds. Connected to the simulator is a nearby trainer's station, from which a trainer can simulate problems for the trainee such as traffic interference, weather conditions and power outages. The simulator can track trainee errors.[14]

The same simulator is now installed at Leslie Barns where most of the cars will be stored.[15]

Selection process[edit]

A mockup of the first three sections of the new vehicle on public display in 2011

With the TTC's streetcar fleet nearing the end of its service life, the Commission began looking for a manufacturer to build new streetcars. In June 2007, the TTC launched a public consultation on the design of its new streetcars, including an online survey,[16] and displays at Finch and Scarborough Centre stations, the Albion Centre, and Yonge–Dundas Square. Mock-ups of the Bombardier Flexity Swift (as used in Minneapolis) and Siemens Combino Plus were on display at the 2007 Canadian National Exhibition in front of the Enercare Centre, then known as Direct Energy Centre.

On September 19, 2007, the TTC published their specifications for the "LF LRV", as they called the proposed new streetcars, which explained what they were seeking beyond that the vehicle would be compatible with the TTC's existing tracks, which required tight turning radii, good hill-climbing ability, and compatibility with single-leaf switches. The tender requested a tram/streetcar of 27 to 30 metres (89 to 98 ft), with multiple points of articulation, and three powered bogies.[17]

Though the document stated that the TTC would accept a well-designed 70% low-floor streetcar, it decided to seek a 100% low-floor design, with folding ramps that could be fitted at the doors to allow stepless boarding where platforms were not available. The fleet replacing the CLRVs and ALRVs was to remain single-ended with doors on the right only, and to retain current collection by trolley pole, but the TTC also requested that provision be made for future conversion to pantograph, and that the option of buying a bi-directional version of the streetcar for new lines be available. Provision was to be made for ticket-vending machines on board, rather than have the driver take fares.

Bombardier, Siemens, AnsaldoBreda, Mytram, Vossloh Kiepe, and Kinki Sharyo all expressed interest in competing to supply the new streetcars, but most dropped out of the bidding at various stages.[18] While the TTC expressed interest in the cars built by Škoda for the Portland Streetcar, that company did not submit a bid. Siemens gained a great deal of attention for its Combino Plus in 2007, with newspaper advertisements and a website, but eventually decided that "it was in [their] better interest not to bid". Only Bombardier and a small British firm, Tram Power, submitted bids.[19]

Bombardier had displayed a mock-up of the Flexity Swift built for the Minneapolis project but later offered a variant of the Flexity Outlook to meet the 100% low-floor requirement,[20] promoting it with a website called "The Streetcar Redefined".[21] TRAM Power's product was the Citytram, a prototype of which was being tested on the Blackpool Tramway until it caught fire on January 24, 2007.[22]

On July 18, 2008, the TTC announced that both bids had been rejected – according to TTC chair Adam Giambrone, Bombardier's entry "would have derailed on Toronto streets", while TRAM Power's was not "commercially compliant" – and reopened the contract.[23] Bombardier actively disputed this claim, adding that it could either supply a compliant car or pay for CA$10.4 million of construction to make the TTC's track network compliant. The TTC entered into direct negotiations with three companies (Alstom, Siemens, and Bombardier) following its August 27, 2008, commission meeting.

On April 24, 2009, the TTC announced that it had chosen a customized version of the Flexity Outlook to replace the CLRV and ALRV fleet.[24][25]

On June 26, 2009, the Toronto City Council approved funding for 204 new vehicles and signed the contract with Bombardier.[26] The City of Toronto committed one-third of the necessary funds, and requested funding from the provincial and federal government for the streetcars. While the provincial government agreed to fund one-third of the project, the federal government was unwilling to provide any money before the June 27, 2009, deadline approached to finalize the contract with Bombardier. Finally, Toronto City Council voted on June 26, 2009, to commit the other one-third of the funding by deferring other capital projects, such that the funding formula became two-thirds municipal and one-third provincial funding.[27] The official contributions were announced by TTC Chair Karen Stintz at the unveiling on Nov 15, 2012. The Province of Ontario contributed $416.3 million, the federal government indirectly contributed $108 million through its gas tax fund, and the City of Toronto and TTC contributed $662 million, for a total cost of $1.2 billion.[28]

A partial mockup of the new streetcar was put on display at the Bathurst Hillcrest Complex for tours in November 2011. The first operating vehicle arrived in September 2012 and was unveiled to the public and media in November 2012.[29][30][31]

Beginning in 2013, the new Flexity streetcars were tested on several routes, and the first two entered revenue service on August 31, 2014, on the 510 Spadina route.[32]


TTC Flexity streetcar on 509 Harbourfront line at Exhibition Loop


The first vehicle arrived in Toronto on September 25, 2012, by rail from the Thunder Bay plant to Canadian Pacific Railway's Lambton Yard near Runnymede Road and St. Clair Avenue West.[33] [34]

It was loaded on a flatbed truck/trailer and arrived at Harvey Shop at the Hillcrest Complex a few days later. Car 4400 was the first of three test vehicles delivered for testing and technology verification. The carset has the same number as the wooden mockup car. The new vehicle was unveiled to the public at the TTC's Hillcrest complex during a media conference on November 15, 2012.[35] [36]

The TTC added a railway siding with an unloading ramp at the Hillcrest Complex for the unloading of Flexity streetcars shipped by Bombardier. (The ramp was not finished in time for the arrival of 4400.) A CLRV streetcar is used as a tractor to pull a new Flexity off of the railway flatcar and down the ramp.[37]

Prototype vehicles 4401 and 4402 underwent almost a year of extensive testing in Toronto. That testing triggered a change to the design of the loading ramps, over which a wheelchair used to tilt. The vehicles would only become TTC property when their ramps are retrofitted to the new design.[12]

According to the CEO of the TTC Andy Byford, the first Flexity streetcars were so poorly manufactured, the TTC would not accept them for fear they would break down on bumpy city streets. At the Thunder Bay plant, when workers went to attach the under-frame to the sidewalls, they had found they were not square. To solve the problem, they wanted to rivet the two pieces together. The TTC rejected that solution, as according to Byford, rivets pop. There were still issues with loose screws, wiring and electrical connectors as of May 2015. To address these problems, Bombardier retooled its Mexican operation in Ciudad Sahagún, Hidalgo (a former Concarril facility) and implemented new quality-assurance processes at Thunder Bay.[38][12]

Revenue vehicles[edit]

In July 2014, a labour strike started at the Bombardier Thunder Bay plant. TTC spokesman Brad Ross said that despite the strike, the new vehicles would enter service on time even if there was only one new vehicle ready for fare service.[39] Bombardier workers voted to accept a new contract on September 12, 2014.[40] Tess Kalinowski, the Toronto Star's transportation columnist, wrote that the Bombardier plan had been scheduled to roll out a new vehicle every three weeks, but that measures would be taken to roll out three new vehicles per month until production was back on schedule.[41]

The Flexity streetcars 4400 and 4403 entered service on August 31, 2014, on the 510 Spadina streetcar line.[41][42][43][39][44] Car 4403 was delivered on May 31, 2014. The TTC had hoped to start with six Flexity vehicles in 510 service but had to settle for just two because of production problems including the Bombardier labour strike.[12]

From 2014, Bombardier had supply chain problems resulting in situations of having too many of some components and stock-outs of others, the latter resulting in production delays. Each vehicle consisted of roughly 10,000 components.[12]

In September 2014, a month after the rollout of fare service on the Spadina line, Kalinowski reported that riders of other routes were expressing jealousy and impatience over the delay before new vehicles were ready to serve their routes.[41]

Before putting a newly delivered Flexity streetcar into service, the TTC tests its components, performs 600 kilometres (370 mi) of test running on the street, and installs the Presto fare machines. If the testing goes well, the TTC releases the new streetcar into service.[45]

Delivery problems[edit]

On December 19, 2014, Tess Kalinowski, reporting in the Toronto Star, wrote that Bombardier was behind schedule in delivering new vehicles.[46] She wrote that by mid-December, Bombardier should have delivered 43 vehicles, but had only delivered three. Seven new vehicles should have been delivered in 2013. She noted that TTC CEO Andy Byford had warned Bombardier that he would insist that they meet the final schedule of all vehicles in time for new streetcars to replace the old fleet by 2019, or he would impose the penalty clauses in the delivery contract. One additional vehicle was expected to be delivered before the end of the year.

Natalie Alcoba, writing in the National Post, reported on January 28, 2015, that the Leslie Barns facility for the new vehicles was expected to be almost empty, when it opened later in 2015, because Bombardier had fallen so far behind in delivery.[47]

On February 23, 2015, TTC chair Josh Colle said Bombardier had agreed to deliver vehicles more frequently, and he expected a total of 30 vehicles to be delivered by the end of 2015.[48] That goal was only achieved one year later at the end of 2016.[49] According to the original plan, Bombardier was to have delivered 73 Flexity streetcars by the end of 2015.[50]

By mid-October 2015, Bombardier admitted it had another production problem at its Ciudad Sahagún plant in Mexico, the same one responsible for faulty under-frames and sides on the new streetcars. The new problem is the "crimping of electrical connectors" causing a new production and delivery delay. To correct the crimping issue, Bombardier has to effectively check 20,000 wires per vehicle requiring about 13 to 16 extra shifts per vehicle. Bombardier hopes to make up for the delay in 2016, when it would produce one streetcar every five days.[51]

Welding at the Ciudad Sahagún plant was also causing production problems. There was an inadequate knowledge transfer from German staff. Until 2016, there was also a high turnover of Mexican welders because of better paying jobs elsewhere. To address the problem, Bombardier had to hire more expertise and strive to retain plant staff. Six welding techniques were originally used to build Flexity components, but this was later reduced to two to simplify production.[12]

The earlier welding problems at the Ciudad Sahagún plant had an impact at the Thunder Bay plant.[52] Bombardier also had promised to deliver four more new streetcars in April with the commitment to have 54 streetcars running in Toronto by the end of 2016.[52] However, Bombardier backed off this promise, saying it would only deliver 16 new streetcars in 2016, that is, 13 more than had already been delivered by April 25, 2016, an average of less than two deliveries per month. Bombardier says it will use a second manufacturing plant in La Pocatière, Quebec, along with an additional assembly line in an unspecified location to help with production being completed in Thunder Bay. Bombardier hopes that the La Pocatière site will address the "dimensional issues with some parts and sub-assemblies" that delay delivery.[53]

On September 28, 2016, TTC CEO Andy Byford said that there were 22 of the new streetcars in operation, and expressed doubts that Bombardier would be able to meet its promise of 30 total deliveries by the end of 2016.[54] However, Bombardier shipped the 30th vehicle on December 14,[49] which arrived in Toronto on December 21.[55] With the TTC's permission, Bombardier shipped the last four Flexity streetcars of 2016 to the Hillcrest Complex in an almost-finished state and completed them at the Leslie Barns. Using the Leslie Barns helped Bombardier meet its 2016 delivery promise.[56] However, according to Bombardier's original delivery plan, there should have been 100 Flexity streetcars in Toronto at the end of 2016.[57]

In January 2017, the TTC claimed that delays in delivery of the new streetcars had resulted in both streetcar and bus shortages. Because the old streetcars require extra maintenance, only 170 of the 200 old streetcars could be put into service. This shortage led to the replacement of streetcars by buses on some routes which in turn led to a reduction of service on some bus routes.[57][58]

According to its revised plan issued in May 2016 and still in effect as of February 2017, Bombardier will deliver 40 streetcars in 2017, 76 in 2018 and 58 in 2019 to complete the 204-car order.[59][60]

On October 12, 2017, Bombardier issued a statement that it would deliver 35 Flexity streetcars by the end of 2017 instead of the planned 40 deliveries. The supplier cited supply chain problems. To address these problems, the company was setting up a second production site in addition to Thunder Bay, seeking additional suppliers and asking existing suppliers to increase their production.[61]

On January 1, 2018, the TTC announced that Bombardier had delivered 59 streetcars to date instead of the 65 it predicted in October 2017 or the revised prediction of 63 from December. Thus, Bombardier delivered 29 streetcars in 2017 instead of the 35 predicted in October. In a December 21 email to The Toronto Star, Bombardier said it was still "mitigating issues in our supply chain". However, according to Bombardier's original delivery plan, there should have been 150 Flexity streetcars in Toronto at the end of 2017.[62] TTC interim CEO Rick Leary revealed that the TTC is working on a contingency plan in the event that Bombardier misses the 2019 deadline. This is a break from the official stance of the former CEO, Andy Byford, who maintains that Bombardier will meet the 2019 deadline.[63]

In February 2018, Bombardier announced it would set up a second production line in Kingston, Ontario to complement production at its Thunder Bay plant. The Kingston production line would require at least 100 new Bombardier employees, and would start production of Toronto Flexity streetcars in the third quarter of 2018. With two production lines, Bombardier plans to deliver 65 cars in 2018, and 77 in 2019.[64]

In early July 2018, Bombardier announced it was recalling 67 of the 89 Flexity streetcars already delivered in order to correct a welding defect. The work is needed to allow the streetcars to last 30 years, their contractual service life. Some welds were not properly fused in several areas of the car, such as on the bogie and the articulated portals. Bombardier will do the corrective work at its plant in La Pocatière, Quebec, with each car requiring 19 weeks to repair.[65] On September 7, 2018, Flexity 4400 was the first to be pulled from service and sent by rail to La Pocatière. Bombardier expects to return it in June 2019. After fixing the first four or five vehicles, Bombardier expects a quicker turnaround for subsequent vehicles. Prototype 4401 had already been sent to La Pocatière in May 2018, but it was never in revenue service as Bombardier had not yet modified it to TTC requirements. The last affected car will be returned to Toronto by 2023.[66]

As of December 31, 2018, the TTC had 117 Flexity streetcars available for revenue service with four more approved for delivery. Bombardier had promised to deliver 121 cars by the end of 2018.[67] Bombardier had invested $20 million to increase production capacity, and began to produce Flexity streetcars at its Kingston facility in December 2018 (three months later than planned) as well as at Thunder Bay.[68]

The TTC has encountered door and communications problems with the delivered units. Units fail on average after 12,500 km (7,800 mi) of service when they were supposed to remain fit for service for 35,000 km (22,000 mi). Bombardier planned to resolve this problem in early 2019.[68]

Delivery summary[edit]

Bombardier's revised delivery schedule by quarter for 2018, as of February 2018, is:[69]

Year Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Total
2018 11 16 17 21 65

Bombardier has not provided a revised schedule for 2019.[69] In November 2017, Bombardier had scheduled 76 deliveries for 2018 and 63 for 2019.[70]

Legal action against Bombardier[edit]

On October 16, 2015, the TTC announced that it has asked its board to consider legal action against Bombardier. TTC staff is recommending that the TTC board "commence legal action, or make a claim allowed for already in the contract, of $50 million for late delivery" against Bombardier. Bombardier had committed to delivering 67 streetcars to the TTC by October 2015, but only ten were in service at the time.[51][71]

On October 28, 2015, the TTC board voted in favour of a lawsuit against Bombardier "for at least $50 million to recoup lost costs", according to Chair Josh Colle, because of the company's failure to deliver the additional new streetcars.[72][73] TTC chief executive Andy Byford indicated that he was not interested in the money per se, and simply wants the streetcars. In a statement late that afternoon, Bombardier responded that it would not comment on the TTC's plan and would not offer "any speculation on potential impacts" on their operations.[74] In April 2019, the TTC and Bombardier reached a settlement for an undisclosed sum.[75]

Order options[edit]

As early as June 2013, TTC CEO Andy Byford expressed the need for the TTC to order an additional 60 vehicles.[76] According to a 2015 TTC report, the extra cars would address rising streetcar demand due to residential growth downtown. The option for 60 additional cars would cost of $361 million. The TTC can purchase an additional 60 vehicles at the current price, if the additional vehicles are ordered before the 60th vehicle is delivered. In September 2016, the TTC Board rejected the recommendation citing the Bombardier Flexity delivery delays, the extra cost of keeping the old fleet running, and the possibility of buying buses at a lower price with federal funding. Byford said that using buses instead of streetcars was inefficient due to capacity differences. TTC Chair Josh Colle said not considering the option is part of "our ongoing dramas and pressures with Bombardier."[77]

The Flexity contract originally specified the installation of pantographs only for the first 60 vehicles. On February 24, 2014, the TTC exercised an option to put pantographs on the remaining 144 vehicles at a cost of $4,492,048.32.[78][79]


The Flexity streetcars were first introduced on the 510 Spadina line on August 31, 2014,[43] with a full conversion to Flexity cars since January 3, 2016, making it the first fully wheelchair accessible TTC streetcar line in the city.[80]

The following are the implemented and future rollouts of Flexity cars:

Route Date of
510 Spadina August 31, 2014[43]
509 Harbourfront March 29, 2015[81]
514 Cherry June 19, 2016[82] Operated from June 19, 2016, until October 7, 2018, when this route was discontinued and was replaced by two branches of the 504 King route.
512 St. Clair September 3, 2017[83]
504 King January 2, 2018[84] Weekday implementation started earlier, on December 4, 2017, to address increased ridership as a result of the King Street transit mall.[85]
501 Queen January 6, 2019[86][87][88] Weekend service using the new Flexity streetcars began in September 2018; Flexity service seven days per week began on January 6, 2019 (mainly between Neville Park Loop and Humber Loop). All-day Flexity service between Humber Loop and Long Branch Loop is expected to begin in Q4 2019.[4]
511 Bathurst June 23, 2019[89] Streetcar service along route 511 Bathurst resumed on June 23, 2019, with the route initially operating with a mixture of CLRVs and Flexities (which will replace the CLRVs as more Flexities arrive and are added to the route).[89]
Future rollouts:[90][4]
506 Carlton Late 2019[4]
505 Dundas Q2 2020[4]
502 Downtowner 2020[4]
503 Kingston Rd 2020[4]

In order to support riders to the 2015 Pan American Games, the TTC temporarily deployed some Flexity streetcars on 511 Bathurst between July 10 and 26, 2015.[91] In January 2017, the TTC started to run Flexity streetcars on 504 King but only on weekends and holidays.[83][92] In 2017 and 2018, the TTC temporarily assigned Flexity cars to 511 Bathurst during the months of June, July, and August.[83]

On September 12, 2017, 509 Harbourfront became the first streetcar route to operate Flexity streetcars with electrical pickup by pantograph instead of trolley pole. However, carhouse movements still had to be made using the trolley pole with the changeover at Exhibition Loop.[3]


The two existing carhouses had been designed to service the older high-floor cars with most equipment located under the vehicle floor, as opposed to low-floor vehicles with equipment located on the roof. They also did not meet the sufficient capacity to store all of the 30-metre (98 ft) Flexity streetcars.

A new building was constructed at Roncesvalles Carhouse on the Queensway at Roncesvalles Avenue to service the new vehicles. On November 22, 2015, the TTC opened the Leslie Barns facility, at the corner of Leslie Street and Lake Shore Boulevard East, exclusively to service the new vehicles.[78]

The TTC has set a target of 35,000 kilometres (22,000 mi) between failures for the new cars, compared with about 7,000 kilometres (4,300 mi) on average between failures on the old fleet.[38]

Operational problems[edit]

On February 20, 2018, the use of trolley poles on Flexity streetcars led to dewirements and damaged overhead infrastructure at the intersection of King Street and Spadina Avenue, and along St. Clair Avenue. The trolley pole shoe contains a carbon insert to provide electrical contact with the overhead wire and to lower the shoe to clear overhead wire hangers. Carbon inserts wear out and must be periodically replaced. The inserts on Flexity cars quickly wore out in rainy conditions, lasting less than eight hours instead of the expected one to two days for rainy weather. Flexity cars draw more current than the older CLRV/ALRV fleet, and this also shortened the life of the carbon insert. Converting Flexity routes to pantograph use is the ultimate solution.[93]

In a heavy rain storm on the evening of August 7, 2018, nine Flexity streetcars were damaged by flooding. Two streetcars were severely damaged after being partly submerged under a flooded underpass on King Street west of Sudbury Street after a flash flood blew a manhole cover. These two streetcars were sent to Bombardier's plant in Kanona, New York for restoration and replacement of damaged electrical components. Two other substantially damaged Flexity streetcars would be stored at the Leslie Barns for few months to effect repairs by Bombardier staff. Five others had only minor damage and were repaired within a few weeks. None of the damage was due to manufacturing problems. The TTC has since revised operating procedures to avoid flood damage to streetcars.[94]

As of early 2019, Flexity streetcars have not been meeting expectations for reliability. The mean distance between failures (MDBF) for Flexity streetcars is expected to be 35,000 kilometres (22,000 mi). (MDBF includes only those failures that delay service by five minutes or more.) However, in March 2019, the MDBF was 13,223 kilometres (8,216 mi), a decrease of 1,554 kilometres (966 mi) from March 2018 and a decrease of 81 kilometres (50 mi) February 2019. Failures have occurred for the hydraulic brake system, doors, propulsion systems, wheel flange lubricators, among other parts. According to the May 2019 TTC CEO report, "Bombardier has developed various vehicle modification programs to help improve reliability." Despite these problems, the TTC's is satisfied with the overall performance of the Flexity fleet, especially in winter.[95][4]


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  13. ^ "Streetcar Noise Reduction – King & Sumach Intersection" (PDF). Toronto Transit Commission. June 27, 2017. Retrieved July 17, 2017.
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