RIOC’s New Tram Shutdown Comes with Unintended Humor


The new Tram shutdown cuts back to single cabin operations and comes with a taste of Henny Youngman-esque humor. It’s not on purpose though, and the expected miscues repeat.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Because the shutdown happens in January and February, outside tourist season, lines like these in December, 2020, shouldn’t be as long, but prepare for them anyway. Subway disruptions can alter Tram traffic in a hurry.

About the new Tram shutdown

On Sunday, January 23rd, a next phase of Tram maintenance reduces service to a single cabin. RIOC says they expect the work to continue until “early February.” But the message never gets any clearer. With RIOC’s bizarre commitment to secrecy in full force, we don’t know what the work entails.

This apparently covers one of two projects we learned about from talking with Leitner POMA, RIOC’s contractor. One involves work on cabin floors, and the other is replacing the track ropes. It could be either, but it could be both. Ever mysterious, RIOC isn’t saying.

About Henny Youngman

If you are lucky, you might catch Youngman on one of the old Ed Sullivan Shows, now in reruns on cable. Rich with one-liners, Youngman – while playing his violin – paused, asking, “Wanna make someone crazy?” (Pause and grin.) “Send ’em a telegram that says, ‘Ignore first wire.'” In this century, substitute “text” for “wire,” unless, of course, you still send telegrams.

RIOC’s alleged Communications Team reminded me of that when their advisory began with “As a reminder…” A reminder of what? The four-member team that averages a hefty two alerts every laborious week never said anything about future maintenance when the Tram went back into full service in December.

Actually, they never even did that much. RIOC has been virtually shut down themselves since mid-December, mostly hunkered down at home, barely visible in the community, except for bus drivers. Consequently, there was not a peep from them when the Tram reopened, just before Christmas. Setting a tone, their busy executives never got around to as much as a Christmas or New Year’s shout out to the community that pays all the bills.

Red Bus Shuttles During the New Tram Shutdown

The usual mistakes reappear. “To supplement Tram service during this planned work period,” they announced, “the RIOC Red Bus will be providing free shuttle service, to and from Manhattan, Monday – Fridays, from 3 PM – 8:30 PM.”

Don’t bother asking why they’re covering only one rush hour because they won’t tell you, never have. And don’t ask why they send empty to near empty full size red buses back and forth across the Queensboro Bridge when smaller limo or van services would be more economical and maneuver more easily. Imagination is not a RIOC virtue.

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