Turin transit operator throws Yutong bus order over board

The Turin transport operator GTT has terminated a contract with the Chinese manufacturer Yutong for the supply of 100 electric buses after review. One of the reasons for the order being thrown out was irritation over the assembly process.

The intermediary company Ares Automotive had apparently proposed to assemble the vehicles during the route by ship from China to Italy in a move to cut costs. This prompted operator GTT to kick-out Yutong on the grounds of having them “found not to have the necessary requirements.”

The initial tender issued this spring called for the procurement of 100 electric buses for a total contract value of 72 million euros. This includes a 10-year service and battery replacement. Grupo Torinese Trasporto (GTT) expects the first 50 electric buses to arrive in the Italian city between the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021.

Now competitor BYD, which had also submitted a bid for the electric bus contract, could be in the running. The company already completed an order over 23 electric buses from the region in late 2017 as reported.

GTT’s legal offices say they have “carried out almost all the legal checks on the second bidder” (BYD). “By the end of October at the latest, we will have the final results of these checks, and if everything goes well, we can start with the procedure for signing the contract,” GTT said.

Turin’s GTT is not alone in their troubles with tenders. Stolichen Avtotransport, the public transport company of Bulgaria’s capital Sofia, had cancelled a tender for the purchase of 52 new e-buses only two weeks ago. Only one valid bid was submitted for each of the two lots tendered. This is the second cancellation Stolichen had to endure.

The company launched the first tender in September 2019 but had to stop it in January 2020 due to technical errors in the documentation. The reason for the second cancellation was a lack of serious interest in a tender worth the equivalent of €14.1 million.

Going back to Italy, Rome also shared the pain earlier this year. Local transit operator ATAC failed to procure hydrogen buses this May when not a single bid was submitted for a tender for five H2 buses published in February 2020. And this is not the first time: At the beginning of 2019, another hydrogen bus tender for Rome was equally unsuccessful.

At least, GTT has another bid to look into. Plus, the reason for the cancellation was original enough. Admittedly, we’d have liked to see how the e-bus assembly on the high seas would have gone.



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