The “Shoppers Bus” Resumes Serving Seniors and Disabled Residents, This Week


“Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) is proud to announce the return of the Shopper’s Bus!” RIOC said on Thursday. Not proud enough, though, for reliable details or good grammar. A “Shopper’s Bus?” Really, who is that lonely shopper?

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Return of the Shoppers Bus

Shoppers Bus
Shoppers Bus services provided by RIOC.

In bringing back the Shoppers Bus, RIOC answered a request for a service valued by seniors and disabled residents. It had been suspended at the start of the pandemic but had not returned even as the state eased restrictions on the Tram and Red Buses.

Concerns increased because RIOC’s Community Relations Team repeatedly rebuffed resident requests. But careful lobbying by the Carter Burden Network and the Disabled Association finally yielded positive results. A critical service, the Shoppers Bus helps Island residents hampered by limited transportation resources and/or physical challenges.

The service resumes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. That we know, but other details offered by RIOC are vague and confusing.

RIOC Provided Details:

Provided by the Roosevelt Island Red Bus, the Shopper’s Bus offers service for seniors and disabled persons to and from Broadway & 21st Street and Costco in Astoria every Tuesday and Wednesday. The Shopper’s Bus departs at 10:30 AM from the front of the Senior Center (546 Main Street). If you’re planning to utilize the Shopper’s Bus, please note:

  • Seniors and/or aides must have identification available before boarding the Shopper’s Bus.
  • Children are not permitted on the Shopper’s Bus.
  • Adults 18 years of age and older are permitted on the Shopper’s Bus only if they are assisting a senior or disabled person.
  • Costco shoppers must bring shopping bags and/or a cart for groceries.
  • The max number of riders is 20 or 18 riders + 2 wheelchairs.
  • Masks are required on the Shopper’s Bus.

The Shopper’s Bus Schedule


  • 10:30 AM: Depart from the front of the Senior Center
  • Approximately 10:45 AM: First stop at Broadway & 21st Street
  • Approximately 10:50 AM: Second stop at Costco


  • 12:30 PM: Pick up passengers at Broadway & 21st Street
  • Approximately 12:35 PM: Pick up passengers at Costco

What’s missing?

We know that the busses depart from the Senior Center at 10:30, but when do they begin loading? This matters as colder weather approaches. Is there a registration or reservation system? Who gets to ride? First come, first served?

What, for example, qualifies as “senior?” Definitions vary from venue to venue. For AARP, after age 50, you’re a senior. For others, it’s 60 or 65. This matters because demand for very limited seating depends on who qualifies.

Must passengers be Roosevelt Island residents? And what on earth does “Seniors and/or aides must have identification” mean? Is it okay if only one does and the other doesn’t, as this suggests?

“Children are not permitted…?” Whose children? What if they’re assisting a parent or grandparent? Do they really mean individuals under 18, regardless?

The “max” ridership is “20 or 18 riders + 2 wheelchairs.” What if five wheelchairs are at the front of the line? Are three refused entry?

If RIOC’s so proud, why couldn’t their four person Community Relations/Communications Team invest an extra half-hour in working out some clear details?

Thanks for Resuming the Shoppers Bus, RIOC…

But between now and Tuesday, could you invest a little time clarifying the details before a confusing jam up brings chaos and disappointment among those you hope to help? Clear details and directions are important elements in any service; so, whatta ya say?


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