Follow Roosevelt Islander On:




Sunday, April 28, 2013

Crowded Roosevelt Island Trams This Weekend Without F Train Service To Manhattan - But It Wasn't That Bad

How was your trip to Manhattan this weekend with no Roosevelt Island F Train Service? Mine was not too bad this afternoon on the 1 PM Tram. The Tram was crowded, almost full capacity, and several people including bicyclists decided not to squeeze in but on the whole, not that bad.

It went like this.


APS said...

weren't the new trams built in order to move in the same direction, at the same time? I was stranded on the platform this morning because of overcrowded and just don't understand why this option isn't being used when subway service crowds the tram. The tram from the city was nearly empty.

Paul said...

While moving both cabins in the same direction simultaneously is an option with the new trams, doing so wouldn't actually increase capacity.

Over the same period of time, moving both cabins in sync would transport the same number of passengers as running them staggered. Hypothetically if it's a 5-minute one-way ride and each cabin has a 100-person capacity: The synced cabins would leave and return to the island terminal every 10 minutes (5 minutes there and 5 minutes back) and carry 200 individuals from the island to Manhattan in that time period. The staggered cabins would carry 100 individuals in the first 5 minutes in the first cabin and 100 individuals again 5 minutes later in the second cabin. So it's the same result.

The staggered approach tends to work better since the trams are typically able to accomodate the majority of people waiting on the platforms. While this leads to some cramped cabins during high volume times, it minimizes the overall wait time since a cabin is almost always arriving to pick up more passengers.

This, of course, goes completely out the window during off-peak hours when the RIOC decides to only run a single cabin.

Ratso123 said...

During rush hour the Manhattan side tram could leave immediately after unloading and loading instead of waiting the minute or 2 to leave. The 7.5 minutes between trams on the RI side would be shortened. This would also mean that the schedule would no longer be a schedule, since it could load up on the RI side and also leave right away. This may accomplish a couple of extra runs per hour. Also, the Tram is capable of going faster, but there may be a safety issue involved in doing that.

CheshireKitty said...

Although a longer train would move more passengers - or, in the case of tram, two trams would move twice as many passengers - the reality is not all passengers arrive at the station to board simultaneously, they arrive in drips and drabs, and so what Paul & Frank say, is probably true.

The new system that allows both cabins can go back and forth independently/simultaneously is a plus in case work needs to be done on cabin/rope - then there is always at least one operational cabin rather than the entire system being down.

Unfortunately, it also means that mgt can take a cabin out at will (to save money) and just leave 1 going back and forth unlike the old system where there were always 2 operational cabins. We get cheated (I think) when they do this.

Frank Farance said...

Ratso123, we looked into this around 2008 and estimated that there might be 10% extra throughput. However, the idea of running continuously on the trams has the same problem with running continuously on the buses: at some point there is bunching (for trams it's both trams on the same side), which increases the average wait time. I know this is counter-intuitive because many people believe (intuitively) that on-demand service produces the best service, but that's not necessarily so if we're trying to improve service for *everyone*, not just Me Waiting At The Tram Thinking Why Can't This Leave Right Now.

Ratso123 said...

I agree with you. My main point is that since the trams are independent they do not have to travel at the same speed. This allows more leeway than the former dependent trams had. There is no reason to wait at the RI station if no one else can fit.

Jesse Webster said...

The Tram's management probably considers "wear and tear" to be a secondary concern. Taking one cabin out of service allows for reduced staffing, and probably significant cost savings in terms of salaries, benefits, taxes, etc.

Frank Farance said...

Mr. Webster, yes I believe reducing labor cost is their highest priority in the present configuration.