RIOC to Mobility Restricted, Elderly, Frail, Wheelchair Bound: "Stay Home"

Ever Clueless, RIOC Abandons Residents Again During Subway Shutdown

Updated 1 week ago David Stone

Whether it's from indifference, incompetence or laziness, one thing you can say with confidence about the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation is that they are consistent. They never learn from their mistakes or change behavior because of them. This weekend, RIOC again leaves our most needy residents without transportation options they could easily provide but choose not too.

Lining up to be roasted in the closed plastic container on a temporary platform
Lining up to be roasted in the closed plastic container on a temporary platform
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

 

Before noon, waiting lines at the Tram stretched out to the Loop Road. They'd get worse as the afternoon increased demand.
Before noon, waiting lines at the Tram stretched out to the Loop Road. They'd get worse as the afternoon increased demand.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

Less than a year ago, on Labor Day weekend, 2017, RIOC left a message for the elderly and mobility challenged: Stay home! With the Subway shut down and the Tram limited to a single cabin, RIOC refused to offer compensating shuttle buses that needy Islanders need.

Then and now, lines to board the Tram stretched out into the street in blazing sun, but as unpleasant as that was, the worst of it was less apparent.

That is, you could find a single wheelchair, walking stick or frail elderly in the line. If standing in the sun for more than a half hour - the last of it trapped in a sealed plastic container with minimal airflow - was too great a risk, you had no choice but to stay home on a major American holiday.

This didn't trouble RIOC. As with most mistakes, they never apologized and hunkered down to defensive "statesplaining."

(As an interesting side note, NYC Ferry, then on its first weekend, noticed long lines backing up at the landing and immediately sent out extra ferries to draw down the wait. RIOC, of course, did nothing.)

They also learned nothing from it.

So, this weekend, with subway trains into Manhattan bypassing Roosevelt Island, RIOC administrators did what we've come to expect from them: they went home on Friday, as they always do, drifting off the Island, not to be inconvenienced with problems they should be solving.

It was actually a little worse, this time around.

Last year, when the Tram was under repair, RIOC boasted of their well-oiled relationship with the transit authority, both run by Governor Cuomo and packed with political cronies. They'd be alerted well in advance of any transit crippling subway shutdowns.

It wasn't true then, and it isn't now. RIOC didn't even send out an advisory alert through their mailing list. Did they even know? Perhaps not. Caught up in a scramble to assemble troubling rationales for cutting off water to the Southpoint cat sanctuary, maybe they hit an overload in demand for excuse-making and statesplaining. 

Roosevelt Islanders and visitors may rest assured that no change will take place and long lines that are too much for some of us will pile up at the Tram Plaza. To expect anything to change would vastly overestimate the sensitivity and intelligence of this administration.

 

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