The Societe de transport de Montreal ("STM") and http://www.mtq.gouv.qc.ca/portal/page/portal/accueil_en recently announced that the procurement of a new fleet of rubber-tyred Métro cars would be put out to tender again. The tendering period is to last 30 days, in compliance with World Trade Organisation rules.
The timing of the STM's decision to re-bid has been criticized by many as a result of sole-source negotiations having been nearly completed with a consortium formed by Bombardier and Alstom. However, the STM justifies its decision as a result of significant changes to the scope of the contract. Several new contenders may decide to bid for the contract, including Siemens and Chinese manufacturer CSR Zhuzhou.
The acquisition of a new fleet of cars by the STM has been a lengthy and troubled process. Following the STM's first announcement in July 2005 that it would issue a tender for 342 new cars, it then decided to negotiate exclusively with Bombardier in May 2006. The STM's reasoning was that Bombardier was the only company equipped to supply the cars. Bombardier competitor Alstom challenged this in June 2006, and its case was upheld 18 months later by the Québec Superior Court. This could have forced STM to re-bid the $1.2 billion acquisition but, following pressure from various levels of government, Bombardier and Alstom decided in November 2008 to work together and submit a joint bid.
Whereas the STM originally wanted to replace only the 45-year-old MR-63 cars, the increased size of the tender will now allow the replacement of the more recent MR-73 cars as well. The optional cars would be required if the proposed 20 km expansion of Montreal's subway network goes ahead.