In 2012 BART chose Bombardier Transit Corporation to build BART's Fleet of the Future—a complex design, engineering, supply chain, and assembly process. The first ten train cars were delivered to BART in 2016, and will go into service following safety and reliability testing, and regulatory approval.
The process of designing and manufacturing new BART train cars is long and includes many phases. The first step was to design the new train cars from the ground up. BART is a unique rail system that has the lightest train car for its size in the United States. While this makes BART cars the most efficient, it also means that a typical off-the-shelf solution will not meet the needs of the Bay Area.
The next step of the process entails the manufacture and test of the equipment that will be installed inside the new trains. Lab tests will occur on all internal systems including the propulsion systems, brakes, motors, and heating and cooling systems to make sure they are capable of performing to the highest standards when they are built into the new fleet.
In 2016, Bombardier delivered 10 pilot cars that will be tested on BART test tracks and throughout the BART system. Much of the testing will be outside of normal operating hours. During this thorough qualification and testing phase, BART and Bombardier will verify and validate the train car performance prior to full scale manufacturing.
Upon successful completion of initial testing, these pilot cars will put into revenue service. Delivery of production cars will begin in mid-2017.
After a year-long evaluation process in which two separate and independent teams evaluated more than 500 aspects of the three final bids, the independent teams selected Bombardier based on its technical capabilities and low cost. Bombardier's bid came in 12% lower than the next least expensive bid, saving BART $184 million—equivalent to the cost of 104 train cars.
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) requires that domestic components account for at least 60% of the total cost of all components used to build new transit vehicles and that final assembly take place in the USA.
In 2011 California Governor Jerry Brown signed a BART-sponsored bill that authorizes California public agencies to establish bid preferences for train car proposals that exceed minimum federal requirements for domestic content. BART is proud to have been the first transit agency in the nation to give "extra credit" to bids that exceed the federal 60% domestic content requirement. As a result, the new cars will meet a 66% Buy America standard.
Companies in the United States will be supplying many of the materials and parts used in the train cars, including the propulsion system, the brakes, the raw aluminum used for the body, and much of the electrical wiring.
Final assembly of the new train cars will take place in New York State. Federal contracting provisions prohibit BART from placing any requirements on where in the U.S. assembly takes place or parts are manufactured.
In conjunction with BART's new train cars, hundreds of new American assembly jobs will be created. Here locally, Bay Area jobs support the design, commissioning, warranty and other activities associated with the project.
BART's 2009 Request for Proposal was a formal request for qualified companies to submit a comprehensive bid for the new train cars. The RFP provided detailed technical and commercial requirements.
Proposals from competing companies were submitted to BART for review in 2010. Over the course of the year BART undertook an evaluation and clarification process with each of the bidders that culminated in the BART issued Request for Best and Final Offers (BAFO) in 2011.
In early 2012 BART received and evaluated all BAFO proposals. Later that year the BART Board of Directors voted unanimously to choose Bombardier Transit Corporation as the car builder for BART's Fleet of the Future.
After the car builder selection, a detailed design process began, incorporating customer feedback.
In Summer 2013, during the design process, BART brought a full scale, half-car wooden model and prototype seats to the Bay Area for customers to try out and provide feedback. The feedback was used to refine the design.
In Spring 2014, over 17,000 customers tried out a final full-scale, half-car model of the new train car at events around the Bay Area. The feedback was used to make final design modifications.
The first 10 train cars arrived in 2016 as pilot cars for comprehensive testing on the BART system.
Subject to successful completion of safety and reliability tests:
- by end of 2017: at least 35 new cars in service
- by end of 2018: at least 166 new cars in service
- by end of 2019: at least 341 new cars in service
- by end of 2020: at least 529 new cars in service
- by end of 2021: at least 721 new cars in service
The balance of new train cars will be delivered by Fall 2022, bringing BART's new fleet to a total of 775 train cars.
BART's goal is to ultimately obtain enough funding to increase the fleet to 1,081 train cars to meet growing demand and relieve crowding.