With Residents Facing a Subway Crisis, RIOC Answers with Same Old, Same Old


The subway crisis is new and a bit overwhelming, but RIOC flops back on the same old, same old inadequate solution. It’s depressing for Roosevelt Islanders hoping the state would be up to the challenge for a change.

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

Starting next weekend with preparatory work preceding the Track Fixation F Train shutdown, the MTA schedules partial closings from Friday thru Monday. The closings alternate directions until August 28th when the F disappears from Roosevelt Island for at least six months.

From RIOC, the Same Old Cheapskate Negligence

Even with a massive challenge in place, the state agency known for running Roosevelt Island without connecting with it can’t be shaken from its cluelessness.

The Roosevelt Island Shuttle Bus to Manhattan will start Saturdays at 3:00 PM. The shuttle will depart hourly from the Tramway, making all northbound local stops to Capobianco Field (Opposite PS/IS 217).

Return Red Bus service from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island will start at 3:30 PM. This bus will depart on the half hour from the Southwest side of 2nd Avenue, between 58th & 59th Street, and will make all southbound local bus stops (starting with 591 Main Street) to the Tram.

The last trip will depart from the Roosevelt Island Tramway at 7:00 PM. The last trip will depart Manhattan at 7:30 PM. Please note that regular Red Bus service may run on an adjusted scheduled to accommodate the additional Tram shuttle service.

RIOC Advisory

Their weekend plan is familiar. For a mere 4 hours on Saturdays and Sundays, RIOC offers a traffic plagued Red Bus shuttle between Tram Plazas. But this leaves the community with 20 hours each day without the help it needs.

And it’s an alarmingly cheapskate gesture. All the state does is reroute a single Red Bus for half of one shift. Even the schedule is unreliable because it mindlessly relies on a smooth ride over the Queensboro Bridge in both directions.

And if you live north of the Roosevelt Island Bridge, you can forget about getting picked up near home.

The same old, same old plan seems more designed to appear helpful than to actually do anything meaningful.

Why It Sucks

For any agency other than RIOC, it would be embarrassing, but it’s too common for shaming anymore.

What RIOC proposes is a shrunken version of what was done during Tram shutdowns in the past. It does not address subway issues in any way because it leaves riders off in a virtual subway desert on Second Avenue.

Nearby subways, at least one long block away, are not accessible. Physically challenged riders most in need of the help will be abandoned. And at that, the unpredictable schedule operates only from mid-afternoon into early evening.

But a much better and easier alternative is lose at hand. For a full 24-hour period, RIOC can hire smaller, more flexible vans – much as The Octagon has done for years – that ferry passengers to transportation hubs.

The Octagon shuttle operates between Tram and subway. Why can’t similar service run from Roosevelt Island to Queens Plaza where multiple accessible subways – including F Trains – run?

That, though, would require imagination and commitment to residents, neither of which thrive in Blackwell House, but the real pain is in the message being sent:

When the long F Train shutdown starts at the end of August, Roosevelt Islanders should expect the same indifference from RIOC. It’s not a pretty picture.

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