Roosevelt Island Tram-the only commuter cable car in North America

I  used New York city subway  million of times. Commuting in New York City, whether for work or pleasure, is rarely an enjoyable experience. I hate subway but I love ferries!  I  have been living in New York for last eighteen years  and there is the only one type of  public transportation in New York that I have never used !     I'm talking   about tram  between  Roosevelt Island and Manhattan. 
Roosevelt Island Tram is an aerial tramway that spans the East River and connects Roosevelt Island residents to Manhattan. The  Tram is the only commuter cable car in North America. There are two tram stations- one in Manhattan, on 2nd Ave, between 59th and 60th Streets, and another - on the opposite side of the East River, on Roosevelt Island. And by the way, East River is not a river at all! It is  tidal strait that separates Manhattan Island from Brooklyn and Queens.



The Tram is not operated by the MTA, but uses the same Metro Card System. Fares are the same as the NYC subway.  The Tram runs Sunday-Thursday from 6am to 2am and on Friday-Saturday from 6am to 3:30am every 15 minutes except during rush hours, when there is one every few minutes. Prior to construction of the tramway, Roosevelt Island was accessed by a trolley line that crossed over the Queensboro Bridge.  Trolleys   stop at the middle of the bridge to meet an elevator   that takes passengers down to the island.
Trolley service to the island ended  on April 7, 1957, and this was the longest running trolley line in the city—kept in operation because it was the only way to get to the island.  A bus line eventually replaced the trolley, but the trip was roundabout and inconvenient.



The Roosevelt Island Tramway was born in 1976  to shuttle residents to and from Manhattan as a temporary  service  until the subway station opened.  But when the subway finally connected to Roosevelt Island in 1989, the tram was too popular to discontinue.   
Built in 1976 by the Von Roll company of Switzerland, the Tram was a revolutionary concept for the time, more common to ski resorts than concrete jungles.
The problem was not the cost to build the tram. Rather it was  the cost of insurance needed to operate it.  It rose  year after year. From 1976 to 1986, premiums rose from $800,000 to $9 million, a staggering 1,025%, despite having an excellent safety record.  But real problems started when  September 2, 2005, when  more than 80 people were trapped on the tram for over 90 minutes. 

Nine months later,on April 18th, 2006, 69 people were stranded above  the East River in two trams when the Tram lost power.  Police commanders waited three hours to implement their rescue plan, holding out hope that   the power would come back on within a few hours. Once the rescue did begin, police needed two hours to set up the rescue bucket.  It took almost six hours, well into the early morning, for rescue workers to extract the passengers ten at a time using an industrial crane and rescue gondolas.


Tram was closed for $25 million renovation for almost a year in 2009  and reopened in 2010.      The system was transformed from Aerial Tram to a Funifor-type system,  that means vehicles  now operate independently of one another.
The old Roosevelt Island Tramway was featured   in the 2002 film Spider-Man, in which the Green Goblin throws Mary Jane Watson off the Queensboro Bridge, and Spider-Man must choose between saving her or passengers on the tramway. Shooting of this movie caused the Tram to be out of service for weeks.

I tired the tram several weeks ago for the first time - believe me, the ride  on the tram   provide a skyline view of the city like no other!