• Text Size

Transit Procurement Initiative

Cover of the TPI Brochure

Metrolinx’s Transit Procurement Initiative (TPI) has become one of North America’s most innovative transit procurement facilitators. Over the last five years, TPI has worked with 26 transit agencies across the province to procure and build over 700 transit buses across five vehicle types: 12-metre; 9-metre, and 8-metre low floor and high floor buses. This consolidation of municipal transit procurement has saved Ontario taxpayers an estimated $9 million in purchasing and administrative costs.

To complement these savings, TPI explored possible savings in the service and repair of the bus fleet. This led to the creation of our Transit Inventory Management Services (TIMS) initiative. TIMS is the first multi-agency initiative involving the consolidation of parts procurement through a single supplier in North America. This Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) model reduces administration costs, uses economies of scale to save participating municipalities money, increases efficiency, and reduces our supply chain’s carbon footprint.

Metrolinx has leveraged our unique position to create one of the largest and most innovative joint transit procurement programs in North America, one driven entirely by voluntary participation. The success of this program has helped redefine how municipal authorities leverage transit financial purchases, from the actual buses to their service and repair (with future joint initiatives under consideration for fuel and electric cooling systems). TPI supports Metrolinx’s mandate to act as the central procurement agency for local transit systems across Ontario (Metrolinx Act, 2006, s. 5(1)(b)).

Our collective expertise builds your fleet strength

For over seven years, TPI has helped small, medium and large transit systems across Ontario save money. From the original six participating municipalities, the program has expanded to include twenty-six transit operators. Synergies are created by combining the experience and knowledge of bus fleet managers with vehicle specification, procurement and operational experts, to create a performance-based design to maximize operational efficiency, increase purchasing power and lower capital and operational costs.

Added value

Bottom line savings, though a major objective, are only one part of what TPI provides. The program also includes:

  • Enhanced quality control through in-plant inspection of buses
  • Fairness Commissioner services to oversee the procurement process
  • Independent Project Engineer to develop technical specifications and administer the contract
  • Evaluation committee made up of transit participants


Metrolinx TPI program has been the recipient of numerous awards in the fields of supply chain and innovation.

  • The Supply Chain and Logistics Association of Canada President Award for the Transit Inventory Management Service (TIMS) of the Transit Procurement Initiative (TPI) (2012)
  • The Purchasing Management Association of Canada Award for Supply Chain Excellence for TIMS of TPI (2012)
  • The Association of Municipalities of Ontario’s Peter J. Marshall Innovation Award for TIMS provided to all participants of the program (2012)


TPI coordinates the development of a performance-based design which allows for bulk purchasing of various bus sizes and parts while allowing transit systems to customize specifications for their needs.

Testimonials from current partners

"Why wouldn’t every small/medium transit property participate? It gives me purchasing power, consistent pricing, predictable delivery, specification expertise and access to technical and administrative resources."
- Gerry Decou, Fleet Manager, City of North Bay


"The City is very pleased with this joint procurement process. Not only does the process provide a financial benefit, but it also reduces internal administration costs while providing modern accessible equipment."
– Al McDonald, Mayor, City of North Bay


"Truly a pristine process from start to finish. A process that exemplifies transparency, purchasing policy compliance, which is viewed as fair and equitable for all participants. A process that promotes knowledge based participants to share experiences and best practices with the end result being savings in budget dollars and staff time and resources, a win win for all participating municipalities."
- Doug Murray, Fleet Manager, Hamilton Street Railway (HSR)


"London is going to buy 30 buses over the next three years, while the consortium is buying 300 buses. I can tell you that you get a better price for 300 buses than you do 30 buses."
- Larry Ducharme, General Manager, London Transit Commission


"This project exemplifies the benefits of working together to find solutions that meet our respective needs while reducing costs and saving the taxpayer money. I congratulate all those involved."
- Susan Fennell, Mayor, City of Brampton


"[The Peter J. Marshall Innovation] award not only recognizes the merits of the initiative in improving efficiencies, it also acknowledges the commitment of staff to think outside the box — wanting to create processes that benefit municipalities across boundaries."
- Rob Burton, Mayor, Town of Oakville


"This project is a result of a two-year undertaking where both supply chain specialists and senior transit staff collaboratively worked together to reach a common goal to consolidate bus parts procurement through a single supplier in North America. This was a massive undertaking, and by setting individual interests aside, we were able to agree on a procurement and supply chain methodology that provides all municipalities both the power of large scale procurement and costs incentives that are usually afforded only to larger municipalities. Singularly, this committee has transformed the bus parts supply chain industry by revolutionizing the purchasing, inventory and distribution of parts in the Canadian transit industry."
- Charles Whitlock, Director of Procurement, Region of Waterloo

Metrolinx - Email to a Friend