Tram Maintenance, Partial Shutdown, Finally Announced


Hours after our report on alarming negligence in the work, a Tram maintenance project, including a partial shutdown, was announced a week after it began. If you depend on the Tram, prepare for weeks of major disruptions.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Tram Maintenance With a Partial, Two-Week Shutdown

An unprepared crew bossed around by a surly equipment operator hauling heavy material through the Tram Plaza during rush hour on Thursday. By late morning Friday, RIOC awakened to the fact that a project had started.

We don’t know what woke up the giant ground sloth, but RIOC drew out its laggardly communications beast just in time to break for lunch on Friday.

“Please be advised that due to critical and necessary tram work beginning Sunday, June 12th, 2022, until approximately Sunday, June 26th, 2022, the South Tram Cabin will be out of service. The North Cabin will remain in service,” an emailed advisory said.

That’s a big deal because, with tourist season in full swing, Tram use has been heavy. Cutting service by 50% promises long delays. Potential jams are exacerbated by RIOC’s failure to post any notices in either Tram Plaza, although the work started on Monday.

The state agency where countless fumbles and intense secrecy produced a sense of chaos has, it seems, done it again.

Here we go again…

“Words fail me,” one longtime resident said after seeing the frustrating RIOC Advisory.

“Once again, RIOC and POMA (Operators of the Tram) can’t get their acts together,” she said.

The abruptness and lack of advance notice, also, concerned others. RIOC gave residents less than two days warning about the shutdown, although they certainly knew about it for weeks.

At least part of that was predictable after President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes oversaw the clearing out of his entire Communications Team.

“What happens on the weekend, when tourism is at its highest and residents already fight their way onto a single cabin?”

RIOC was silent on that issue.

Tram Shutdown alternatives: RIOC’s “Plan”

“To accommodate this disruption, RIOC will be running a shuttle bus Mondays through Fridays from 3PM to 8PM, between the Roosevelt Island Tramway and the Tram Station at 60th St and 2nd Ave in Manhattan. 

Boarding Locations/Routes:  

  • Roosevelt Island to Manhattan: board at the R.I. Tram Station. Shuttle will make all northbound local stops to Capobianco Field (Opposite PS/IS 217)
  • Manhattan to R.I.: board at the southwest side of 2nd Avenue, between 58th & 59th Street. Shuttle will make all southbound local stops (beginning at 591 Main Street) to the Tram station.
  • Frequency: departing on the half hour, traffic depending.
  • Last Trip- Manhattan to R.I.: 8:30 PM Roosevelt Island to Manhattan: 8:00 PM

“We encourage riders to plan accordingly and anticipate increased wait times for both the Tram and Red Bus shuttle. Please also consider alternate transportation options such as the F-train subway, ferry or Q102 bus.”

In short, with no explanation, RIOC left one and all without alternative resources on busy weekends, but worse yet…

“No attempt to even try to accommodate folks with disabilities or other challenges with at least one or two Red Bus shuttles in the morning?”

Needless to say, any subway disruption, especially in the morning, means transportation misery for anyone heading off to work or school, etc., as RIOC cannot be counted on for help.

These are the sorts of things that have endeared RIOC and its Albany overseers to Roosevelt Islanders for years.

What You Can Do

If you aren’t crazy about the subway – like many of us – you have a few limited options.

First and best is the Q102 bus. When it leaves Roosevelt Island, it’s only a 5 or 10 minute ride to Queens Plaza where transfers into Manhattan await as well as multiple subway line connections.

If your destination is Midtown or Wall Street, NYC Ferry can be a solid choice. The 34th Street Landing connects to buses, including free shuttles.

But realistically, although it’s late, your best step may be sounding off at RIOC, our elected officials and the governor’s office early and often. There’s always a chance that enough noise can prick them into providing an acceptable level of the services they are obliged to provide.

A few bucks toward our expenses is always appreciated.

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