UPDATE: Strange Red Bus Shuttle Stuns Roosevelt Islanders. WTF?


After hours, of course, RIOC released an advisory with news of a strange Red Bus shuttle, starting next week. It claims “to help Roosevelt Island commuters,” but apparently does not. So, what’s the real story here? We can now answer that question.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

UPDATE, SEPTEMBER 1ST, 2023: With a tip received from a reader, we’ve determined the reason RIOC arranged the strange Red Bus shuttle. And it’s worse than strange. It’s a kick in the ass for Roosevelt Islanders struggling to deal with the F Train shutdown.

The shuttle is set up for guests staying at the Graduate Hotel and needing quicker access to the #7 Trains in Queens Plaza. The 7s go direct to the Tennis Center where the U.S. Open takes place. Commuters may be fans, players, coaches and others involved in the event.

The shuttle was in no way set up to help Roosevelt Islanders, and in fact, it hurts residents by taking a critical bus out of circulation during the morning rush when it’s really needed. Roosevelt Islanders are just cover for more RIOC corruption.

Once again, the Haynes/Hochul administration proves incapable of transparency and accountability.


“Are they kidding? I can take the Q102 to Queens Plaza,” one longtime resident reacted.

Suspicions arose among several residents wondering what RIOC was really up to.

“To help Roosevelt Island commuters during the difficult MTA Track Replacement Project, RIOC will begin providing a free Red Bus Shuttle to Queens Plaza during weekday morning rush hours starting Tuesday, September 5th,” the 5:30 advisory said.

“Red Bus Shuttle service to Queens Plaza will run Monday to Friday from 7AM to 11AM. Shuttle bus pick-up will start at the Graduate Hotel and make all northbound Q102 stops to Capobianco Field.”

Observers noticed that, rather than help, the strange Red Bus shuttle simply duplicated service already provided by MTA Q102 buses.

The Strange Red Bus Shuttle

Despite what the advisory said, it isn’t clear how this sudden service would help “Roosevelt Island commuters,” an odd choice of words.

“I don’t understand the benefit of the Red Bus going to Queens Plaza in the morning when the Q102 does the same thing,” another resident noted.

RIOC wasted no time on transparency, never explaining anything about the shuttle.

“I appreciate their trying to do something, but why don’t they think things through, talk to a few residents first?”

A fiery answer came back.

“What a great idea. Susan (Rosenthal), Charlene (Indelicato), even Steve Shane on his worst day, would have talked to residents & employees…”

Suspicions coalesced about who the new shuttle helps.

The Route…?

“Shuttle bus pick-up will start at the Graduate Hotel…”

What? Why?

Is it possible that the Graduate Hotel (or the Cornell Tech Campus generally) is the real beneficiary, its guests getting free private service with no thought whatsoever about Roosevelt Islanders?

And let’s be clear. Is using “Roosevelt Island commuters” instead of “Roosevelt Islanders” or “residents” telling?

“Who are they really trying to please since their interest in residents is so minimal?” I asked the group.

“Trying to make themselves look good so Akeem can promote Shelton & himself,” was the reply.

What Makes This So Bad?

While RIOC announces this strange Red Bus shuttle, which does not benefit residents in any way, it ignores the need for which Roosevelt Islanders have repeatedly demanded solutions.

The Tram, which Roosevelt Island pays for – fares do not fully cover expenses for the service – is increasingly becoming unusable for many and uncomfortable for most.

Overcrowding, bad manners and a firm refusal to support priority seating continue unabated, but RIOC made even that worse.

Simultaneous with the shuttle announcement, RIOC posted its Tram schedule on Instagram – no advisory emailed to the community.

The schedule prolongs the Jersey salute RIOC’s offered residents during the Hochul/Haynes administration. Even with congestion certain to increase with the return to normal work schedules after Labor Day, nothing changes.

Live with it, RIOC suggests, an attitude shining an even brighter light on the strange Red Bus shuttle from campus to Queens.

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  1. Now that we have practically only one type of transportation available in RI, especially for senior citizens, handicapped people, and parents with babies, i.e. the tram, it’s time that during this period that we prohibit tourists from using the tram and give priority to RI residents mentioned above. First of all, tourists are the ones who create the long lines, are more aggressive, and don’t respect the priority of senior citizens and handicapped people. Secondly, they don’t add anything to the welfare of Roosevelt Island, since they don’t patronize any of the businesses here. Lastly, if they’re really interested in seeing the island, then they should come here the hard way, but train and buses.

    • In general, I agree, Deana, but prohibiting tourists is impossible, but controlling the situation is. Among other things, RIOC could set aside separate cabin for residents only with priority boarding for seniors, disabled and physically restricted. It would be easy with all the PSOs hanging around with nothing to do. The problem there is that, under Shelton Haynes and Kevin Brown, PSD is so passive, they’re barely awake. New management is necessary before any meaningful change can happen. And don’t forget the ferry, 100% accessible and connected to a lot of other resources The Tram should be so much better, but nothing will change with the clown show in place now.

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