In Search of the Graduate Hotel Shuttle, I’m Not Alone


Giving RIOC a chance to smooth out any opening day wrinkles with the Graduate Hotel Shuttle, I went looking for it yesterday. What I found – or didn’t – was surprising but predictably RIOC-like.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

It was hot; so, I found a shaded bench when I went out in search of the Graduate Hotel Shuttle. First step, look for the sign RIOC promised for every stop.

Maybe a separate boarding area had been set up on the Loop Road. Cross all the Ts, and dot all the Is.

“Signage for the new Queens Plaza Red Bus Shuttle will be posted at all pertinent bus stop locations on the island,” RIOC’s advisory said.

(Why can’t they just say “Signs” like everybody else?)

There was no sign in sight, not anywhere.

I turned up my headphones to the highest volume and waited with Bob Dylan in my head.

The Graduate Hotel Shuttle Appears

Just a couple of minutes late, the barely marked bus arrived.

The only thing distinguishing the Red Bus when it arrived was a front end banner reading “Shuttle,” not Queens shuttle or Queens Plaza, just Shuttle. That implies an unwarranted assumption with multiple shuttles carrying passengers different places, these days.

This may partly explain, along with the absence of any signs, why it arrived empty and left unchanged.

But I carried on.

After watching the shuttle chug by the Tram Plaza without stopping, I followed along, searching for the promised signs.

Make a long story short – I didn’t locate a single one at any of the promised stops until I reached the Public Safety office in the middle of town. There was a big one in the window.

But nothing at the Red Bus Stop nearby.

What I Did Find Though…

NO Bicycles, it says, although bicycles are and have zoomed by for years.

It’s a decade old gaffe I’ve chuckled at before. RIOC demonstrated an almost otherworldly inability to manage signs in recent years, and they don’t enforce anything for bikes of any kind anyway.

Yet this sign, signaling incompetence, still stands tall.

After confirming there were no Graduate Hotel Shuttle signs at the subway, I marched on. While my next discovery was not surprising, it kinda was.

Roosevelt Island has mounting challenges in transportation, crime and a leadership vacuum, all things that should have RIOC’s brain trust with their heads down at their desks, emails, texts and phones heating up, working on solutions.

Yet, I found…

Midday, September 6th, 2023.

In the middle of the working day, precious Main Street parking spots seized by RIOC for the Official New York State Shelton J. Haynes Parking Area almost completely empty.

Haynes’s huge gas guzzler was absent for most of August – just like this in September.


Ironically, Roosevelt Island’s status quo is unsettling. A rudderless ship sets a tone where residents don’t get a sense that anyone capable is in control, let alone anyone caring.

Look at it this way: If they can’t even manage putting up signs for a simple, if curious shuttle alleged to help commuters, there’s little likelihood that the executive team can handle larger issues.

Especially with no one at the wheel.

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