Roosevelt Island Tram Gets 2-Day Partial Shutdown This Week

Roosevelt Island Tram Gets 2-Day Partial Shutdown This Week

RIOC announced a 2-day partial shutdown for the Tram, but it’s not for the hazardous cabin-swinging incidents. Those remain neglected. This, Tram operator Leitner-POMA claims, is the time needed for work on the cabin floors.

by David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

“The floor probably does need some replacing as it was poorly installed and badly maintained, resulting in bumps and other safety hazards,” an Island observer said, “exacerbated by overcrowding, occasionally wet floors from too much rain and foot traffic, and who knows what else…”

“There are so many things wrong here it’s hard to know where to begin…” the longtime resident added.

Partial Shutdown Concerns

Questions were immediate. First and foremost, why take out cabins during prime time? This makes the tourist-filled still available cabin even less accessible for Roosevelt Islanders who need it.

Why can’t this work be done overnight, maybe starting late in the evening, when demand is much lighter?

And shutting down for whole days while leaving the usual overnight closing untouched strikes some as patently ridiculous. Why not make good use of that 5-hour gap?

Add to that the heartless lack of support from RIOC. The lack of any meaningful relief from the state agency that always gets it right is “shameful and cruel.”

RIOC’s substantial percentage of physically challenged individuals, already hampered by the RIOC-generated tourist flood, depend on a fully functioning Tram. For them, it’s their primary, accessible barrier-free transportation for work, school, medical and other appointments.

And RIOC’s neglect is doubly painful while the F Train is largely out of service. No apparent reason exists for rushing this work; so, why not wait until the Track Fixation Project is completed in a few months?

Again, this isn’t about residents or even tourists. If it were, Leitner-POMA would have tackled the swinging cabins first. This partial shutdown is about what’s easiest for the operators and, of course, RIOC’s distant executives.

Roosevelt Islanders come last, again.

But It Wasn’t Always Like This: A Flashback

Just seven years ago, Leitner-POMA undertook a similar but more extensive project. Inspections and maintenance, along with floor replacement in both cabins, required a full month. (The floor work apparently failed to meet standards, or they wouldn’t need replacing again so soon.)

This was, of course, long before RIOC started promoting the Tram as a low-cost tourist attraction. But with many fewer passengers demanding rides, RIOC – then under the leadership of Susan Rosenthal – handled it much differently.

November 2016.

That’s right, a single cabin but running on a rush-hour schedule and RIOC shuttles from 10:00 a.m. until 8:30 p.m.

And, I confess, I challenged Rosenthal in The Daily’s first year, telling her it wasn’t enough. Her answer: “I respectfully disagree.”

Imagine that – a RIOC chief who responds to the media and is more than willing to push back, defending her decisions.

Imagine that…

(Yes, I know I repeated myself, but the thought was so pleasant.)

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