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City of Ottawa issues default notice to Confederation Line LRT contractors

City of Ottawa issues default notice to Confederation Line LRT contractors
CITY OF OTTAWA —A train is tested at the Cyrville station in the eastern section of the new Confederation Line in Ottawa in July 2018. When the $4.66-billion project is complete, 77 per cent of all Ottawa residents will live within five kilometres of a train station.

OTTAWA — The City of Ottawa has issued a Notice of Default to Rideau Transit Group, the consortium responsible for maintaining the city’s new Confederation Line LRT service.

“Members of Council are united in their resolve to compel RTG to deliver the improved LRT service our transit passengers expect, and that the City has paid for,” said Mayor Jim Watson in a March 10 statement. “Through this unanimous decision, we are sending a clear message to RTG.”

The notice was issued March 10.

The Confederation Line opened last September. Local media reports have indicated there are often multiple trains not running out of the full complement of 12 or 13 needed to maintain full service.

Rideau Transit Group is a general partnership formed by ACS RTG Partner Inc., SNC RTG Partner Inc. and EllisDon RTG Partner Inc.

Under the project agreement, RTG is responsible for the design, construction and maintenance of the Confederation Line, including the vehicles and stations, and the performance of its sub-contractors.

The maintenance component of the project agreement is for 30 years.

The City is also asking RTG to take a “much more active role in compelling its key sub-contractors — including Alstom — to improve their performance on an urgent basis,” the statement said.

“We need RTG to step up their efforts to improve LRT service for our transit customers,” said Councillor Allan Hubley, chair of the Transit Commission. “Taking this unprecedented step is part of our commitment to make sure residents are getting the level of service they deserve and that we expect from a world-class consortium.”

The Notice of Default is a contractual notice advising RTG that it is not fulfilling its obligations under its contract with the City. This escalation of the City’s legal rights is in response to Rideau Transit Group’s failure to provide reliable service with the vehicles, stations and across the system since service started last September, the release stated. RTG will now have a duty to produce a plan and schedule to remedy these failures, the City said.

“We are not receiving the service that we contracted (for). This is an escalation in the project agreement and the first step to terminate the contract should RTG not remedy the issues,” said city manager Steve Kanellakos in the statement.

“We will bring their plan to council with our assessment on how they intend to fix the ongoing problems and ensure they meet their obligations under the contract in a timely manner.”

RTG is being asked to provide a plan and schedule for improvements by March 31, 2020. Council also delegated authority to the city manager to take any other actions required under the project agreement to give effect to council’s decision.

Staff will report back to council at its meeting on April 8.

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