Stymied on OMNY for the Tram, Will RIOC Dip Deep into the Past?

Stymied on OMNY for the Tram, Will RIOC Dip Deep into the Past?

Stymied on OMNY, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) may have a solution. Cowed by bullying MTA brass, RIOC’s deep thinkers are rumored to be dipping into transit history for alternatives. As the story goes, they found something they can use. “We only need four, and then, we mint a bunch of tokens,” one official surmised.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Tip of the hat to the ever-resourceful Sylvan Klein.

“We will not be stymied on OMNY,” a source who demanded anonymity and a cookie in exchange for his comments said. “We can go right back to where we were before MetroCards messed up our system.”

Longtime Roosevelt Islanders may remember that a full-time Token Counter held a spot in the annual budget. This was back when a more transparent state agency listed positions and salaries, but that ended when the current brain trust realized that people were looking at their salaries too.

a person holding a token
Tram tokens fit right in your pocket with your iPhone or somewhere at the bottom of your purse with the lint and that paperclip from who knows where.

Some things ought to stay in the backroom, they reasoned.

Where We Were Before MetroCards

RIOC had no need for fancy pants plastic cards or snarky MTA negotiators. And we got to keep all the money too, not make involuntary contributions to their deficit reduction programs.

To get on the Tram, all you had to do was drop a token into the turnstiles and off you go. Tokens were available at booths on both ends.

The back to the past idea came – ironically – from the MTA’s own Transit Museum.

Stymied on OMNY No More

In a meeting described for us by a typically unreliable RIOC insider, President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes summoned his top brass to Blackwell House, and with the second-floor shades drawn tight, insuring secrecy, demanded that they come up with a solution. And fast.

People were starting to grumble.

Within 24 hours, he had a solution.

“But where are we going to get token machines,” he wondered.

“Easier to find than OMNY machines, sir,” a manager quipped warily. “But look, the MTA’s gotta have a scrapyard. We can probably get a few for a song. They don’t have to even plug into anything. It’s all mechanical.”

“And we can pitch it as part of our commitment to the environment,” another chimed in.

“What about tokens? Where are we gonna get tokens?”

“Easy peasy. they’re all over eBay.”

Although The Daily has been unable to verify this story, it rings true, all things considered. Stymied on OMNY, RIOC’s brain trust may have beaten the MTA at their own game. Once tokens are in full use, they lose all the Tram revenue, including the $1 million plus they’ve been stealing.

Back to the future indeed.

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