Thursday, April 14, 2011

View From Roosevelt Island Tram if Patrolled By Miami Vice's Crockett & Tubbs - Questions on Tram Safety Strap, Tower Bump & Recent Outages Answered

Here's the view from the Roosevelt Island Tram if it was patrolled by Sonny Crocket and Ricardo Tubbs from Miami Vice.

The Tram would go much faster if Crockett and Tubbs were patrolling it.

Some tram riders, though they appreciate the great views of NYC waterfront and skyline, just want to be able to hold on and not fall down during the ride.

 Image of Some Tram Riders Stretching to Hold on to Bar

Received this message from a reader explaining:
there really does need to be straps, metal or leather...if the red bus can have straps, the Tram can for sure...hope they get on that soon, it is like the Tram cars are not finished or they just forgot to make sure 100 people had somewhere to hold onto while in the air?
Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board Director Jonathan Kalkin has some answers on safety straps, the tram bump near the towers and recent outages:
The other day I had the opportunity to be on the Tram with our VP of Operations Fernando Martinez and RIOC President Leslie Torres. I had mentioned during previous meetings that I had gotten several emails or comments that there were not enough places to hold onto currently. I'm 6 feet tall and the rack on the top was still high over my head. I told Fernando that we should either lower the current poles on the top, add some kind of retractable strap to hold onto that doesn't hit people in the face, add extra vertical poles, or some combination of the three. There may be alternative solutions so I asked that we have an expert look at it again to figure out a fix.

I also have seen, read or experienced myself movement on the Tram while it approaches the towers. The Tram is different from the old Tram in that it uses a fixed cable system and therefore can be used in higher winds because the cables are fixed and don't move. Therefore the Tram cable can't swing on the trip in high winds. It remains fixed. However, when approaching the towers the Tram will center itself which is why you feel that nudge. This is very similar to a speed bump. If the operator moves quickly through it, it is more severe and during high winds, the correction is bigger. I have asked during several operations meetings that we develop a procedure for this during regular operations and high wind situations. If we have to go slower when approaching the tower in order to give a more comfortable ride, I think we should. It just makes sense.

Finally, there has been a lot of confusion during Tram outages. We haven't had many, but they have been mostly due to the fact that our Tram has so many sophisticated sensors that detect the smallest issue. This is a good thing. We don't have to rely only on inspections or deal with failures once they happen. We can get that data immediately years before they even start to be an issue. One of the reasons I held back the vote for the Tram when I first got on the Board was I wanted to examine every case where a Tram had failed. I wanted to know why because safety is always the number one concern when dealing with transportation. Since most Trams are built outside this country, I had the court documents translated into english so the RIOC staff, Board and I could review them. We found two major factors to be the issue: improper maintenance and old safety mechanisms. In almost all cases it was a combination of both. Our previous Tram had 1970's technology and the same safety equipment and standards of that decade with some modifications. Our new Tram has redundant safety systems and computer safety sensors in place that simply didn't exist during that period. This is good. I have asked that if we know specifically if there is an issue, that we get the message out, but we make sure it is the right information. So we can better address these issues and questions during our next Operations Meetings, I placed a question on Quora. I look forward to hearing your responses.


Anonymous said...

WOW !!!!!

A whole lotta words to describe RIOC's and POMA's on-going ignorance and do-nothingness for rider safety -- and that picture speaks volumes. Even with our old, tired cabins, there were handstraps from the ceiling so folks could hold on to something.

It took an awfully long time for RIOC to get any type of safe hand-strap or grip on to the newer Red Buses.

Both the Tram and Red Buses when they are filled to the brim still have inadequate features to ensure we have SOMETHING to hold on to. Especially those of us who are short.

That old song about "please hold on while the cabin is in motion" could not be more applicable -- except there are not enough things to hold.

How much longer will Ms. Torres, Mr. Martinez, our RIOC Board and POMA delay ANY efforts to improve rider SAFETY and "comfort" on our new cabins --

Anonymous said...

What I get out of those "whole lotta words" is 1) hand straps will eventually come and 2) we have to live with the bumps but the operators could just slow down a bit when going over the towers. Let them work on this and we all should be happy, no?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like this is he first time that Jonathan, Fernando and Leslie have been on the tram and they obviously havnt been reading this blog - these issues have been discussed over and over again ... for how long now - has it been 6 months???

With regards to the jerking when approaching the towers, yea we get it ... the cabin is readjusting itself... but most are not just ordinary jerks and over time they are bound to loosen some screws either on the cabin or on the towers.