Botched Tram/Elevator Returns to Service Notifications

Meanwhile, RIOC still can't get out of its own way, even with good news

Updated 30 weeks ago David Stone
Did a Rosenthal vacation send RIOC fumbling, stumbling and bumbling into manhandling good news?
Did a Rosenthal vacation send RIOC fumbling, stumbling and bumbling into manhandling good news?
File photo courtesy of RIOC

It's almost as if RIOC has a plan to undermine itself when it has good news to report while flying the flag high when it screws up. It's inexplicable that a State agency with loads of cash and awash in excess personnel can't even get out a simple, significant service announcement. BTW, the Tram and elevator are back at full service. We have to keep repeating it because RIOC won't.

The Service Advisory That Wasn't

As we reported on Saturday, in one fell swoop, RIOC returned both Tram cabins and 2nd Avenue elevator to full service on Friday, at the same time cancelling inadequate shuttle bus services. What should've been uplifting news wasn't because, through neglect, incompetence of disrespect, RIOC chose to keep the news mostly to themselves.

On its Facebook page, after 7:00 on Thursday, RIOC posted a sleepy notice about Tram service restoration.

"Facebook," one longtime resident complained, "is no substitute for getting important info out to the community."

If for no other reason, the majority of us are not using the social media platform, and of those who are, even fewer follow RIOC's unpredictable postings.

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"How would anyone - especially those of us who have been avoiding single-cabin Tram service with no Manhattan elevator service, or using the afternoon Red Bus shuttle, or re-arranging our Sunday travel plans - anyone with limited mobility, with various impairments, users of wheelchairs & other mobility aides, & of course the stroller-pushers... How would we know that Tram service & elevator service were restored, shuttle service ended, and Sunday service restored - if RIOC couldn't get out the phone & email advisories?

"No info from Red Bus drivers, no signage, no nothing," she added.

RIOC's response as of Sunday?

Vice President Shelton Haynes, without elaboration, forwarded an advisory he claims was released on Thursday.

Except nobody got it.

RIOC Dysfunction

After an unforgettable year that saw RIOC brutally destroy the Roosevelt Island Youth Program, try to surreptitiously evict a cat sanctuary out of Southpoint, refuse to accept responsibility for decades of contaminated water to playground and park users, among others, the State agency has been rattled by a mass exodus of executives, leaving it fumbling, stumbling and bumbling into spring.

It can't even get good news distributed.

What's most surprising about the weekend's transportation screw up is that, on Friday, multiple people alerted RIOC to the problem... but RIOC did nothing.

How hard would it have been, one resident asked, to just send out the Advisory again, this time to a general list of subscribers, put up some posters in relevant locations and ask Red Bus drivers to inform passengers?

None of that was done. In fact, on Sunday morning, it was reported that a driver told his charges that shuttle buses would be up and running in the afternoon. Even RIOC's own didn't know.

A possible, partial explanation is that President/CEO Susan Rosenthal has been on vacation. A skeleton staff may be unable to function without her immediate direction. Better to do nothing than make a mistake and be pummeled behind closed doors?

Way back in 1969, Jimmy Breslin published The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight, a humorous takeoff on the mob. Have we now got our own bureaucratic version with Governor Cuomo's mismanaged mess rendering RIOC unable to distribute the simplest of community notices?

In this case, one thing missing is the humor.

The folks at 591 Main Street ain't got any.

All about Roosevelt Island...



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