When will the Roosevelt Island Tram Stations 

be included in the
MTA’s One Metro New York (OMNY) 

system is a question often asked by Roosevelt Island residents.

The MTA’s OMNY future does not appear to be coming to Roosevelt Island anytime

Responding to the Roosevelt Island Twitterverse last month, the MTA reported it is up to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC): 

… to add OMNY to their fare collection systems.

But, during a September 21, 2021 Community Board 8
Roosevelt Island Committee
RIOC CFO John O’Reilly said:

… Roosevelt Island and the Tram was set in a
priority listing, not with our input but basically unilaterally by the MTA,
that they were going to do the Long Island Railroad first and PATH next and
then we were going to be third on the list after they got Staten Island,
Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn done.

We were scheduled to have negotiations and discussions with them in the
spring of this year to negotiate the new contract. We were given the
vendor’s name who was supplying the equipment and we made contact with them.
The last I heard from them was February 2020 right before the pandemic

… We were scheduled to have everything done by the late fall, early winter
of this year or early winter of next year so we will be in position to be in
play by January 1st 2023 when that was their deadline to have everything in

I don’t know if they’ve extended that deadline or not…

… We’re basically at the whim of the MTA on this one. We did everything
we could to try to get them to move us up on the priority list and
renegotiate the contract and do everything we can but the pandemic hit and
then everything kind of fell off ….

Today, Roosevelt Island NYC Council Member Julie Menin, Assembly Member
Rebecca Seawright and State Senator Jose Serrano issued this press release
demanding OMNY installation on the Roosevelt Island Tram. According to the
February 10, 2022 press release:

Council Member Julie Menin Demands OMNY Installation on Roosevelt Island.
Tram Commuters can not access OMNY free transfers or utilize fare-capping
pilot program. RIOC Missing Out on Critical Funds By Not Using OMNY 

The Offices of New York City Council Member Julie Menin, New York State
Senator Jose M. Serrano and New York State Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright
have requested the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) advance the
timeline for the installation of the One Metro New York (OMNY) system on the
Roosevelt Island Tram. The letter sent by the Office of Council Member Julie
Menin addresses RIOC President and CEO Shelton J. Haynes as the Roosevelt
Island Tram remains the last MetroCard only station within the MTA system.

RIOC is a New York State run public-benefit corporation that maintains and
develops Roosevelt Island, operates a Public Safety Department, and also
provides services such as the Roosevelt Island Tramway that enhances the
residential island community. It is one of the few forms of mass transit in
New York City not run by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, but uses
that system’s MetroCard. 

With an annual ridership of over two million people and daily use in the
thousands, the Tram currently is one of the most reliable services for
traveling into Midtown Manhattan and a way to avoid crowded subways cars on
the F train that travels to Manhattan and Queens. Those who forget or are
not in possession of a Metrocard, cannot use their smart technology such as
smartphones and watches, which could also have their payment readily
available. If passengers used OMNY earlier on their trip, a free transfer is
not available and passengers cannot take advantage of the weekly fare cap.
Starting at the end of the month, New York City transit riders who utilize
OMNY will pay no more than $33 per week for unlimited rides on the MTA’s
local buses and subways.

In addition to not having OMNY integrated with the tram, RIOC is also
currently missing out on collecting full revenues from Metrocard rides due
to an outdated agreement with the MTA that did not account for fare hikes,
as RIOC only receives $2.00 for a Metrocard swipe. Adopting OMNY technology
provides an opportunity to collect full fares and create a fairer

“Roosevelt Island residents shouldn’t have to be inconvenienced by a fixable
transportation issue. The Tram is vital to our residents, and making it
affordable and modernizing the technology will be a benefit for tram riders
and RIOC alike as they’ll finally get the funds they deserve,” said Council
Member Julie Menin.

“New Yorkers across the city currently have the option of paying their fare
by tapping their contactless smartphones, cards, and other devices using
OMNY, and Roosevelt Island Tram riders should be no exception. With the
substantial growth of the island in the last few years, ease of access to
transportation options has become more important than ever, and I look
forward to seeing RIOC advance their timeline for modernizing the current
payment system,” said State Senator José M. Serrano. 

“The clock is ticking. The MTA is moving forward with its plan to fully
implement OMNY. The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation is late to the
game. RIOC must come forward with a timetable to deploy the OMNY system
while also ensuring that Tram riders continue to benefit from seamless
payment and transfers,” said Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright. 

“Very few Roosevelt Islanders remember when Matt Katz spent years advocating
for our Tram to accept Metro Cards (it didn’t just happen). For a ridiculously
long time we had to use outdated tokens that were no longer used anywhere else
at the time. I remember listening to my neighbors, particularly those with
families who were financially burdened by the extra expense…here we go again.
Why can’t RIOC be proactive and reactive in support of our financially
burdened neighbors and prioritize this change making it happen NOW and truly
support the people who need it the most,” said Lynne Strong-Shinozaki,
resident of Roosevelt Island and Chair of the Community Board 8 Roosevelt Island Committee.

Below is February 10 letter sent by the Roosevelt Island elected
officials asking RIOC President Shelton Haynes to implement the OMNY system on
Roosevelt Island Tram by the end of this year.

 and the full CB 8 Roosevelt Island Committee (chaired by Ms Shinozaki) OMNY discussion with RIOC CFO John O’Reilly.

During yesterday’s NY State Assembly Budget Hearings, NYC Mayor Eric Adams told Ms. Seawright that he is:

… is looking forward to that Tram Ride. It is one of the greatest attractions in the City…


Perhaps Mayor Adams can help facilitate the future of OMNY installation
coming to the Roosevelt Island Tram sooner rather than later.

I asked RIOC for any comment on the matter earlier today. No response yet.


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