Friday, August 17, 2012
Where the hell is the tram we paid for?
From the Queens Chronicle:
The $262,400 tram taxpayers funded through Borough President Helen Marshall’s office has seen little usage since it was acquired in 2008 for Fort Totten and has been out of commission this summer at the Bayside park.
The open-air vehicle, which seats 40, was purchased to make it easier for visitors to get around the 50-acre park. But there were problems from the start.
Mechanical issues first sidelined the vehicle and then the fuel tank had to be enlarged because it’s powered by compressed natural gas. If the tank had remained its original size, the tram would have had to have been transported frequently to a fueling station off-site at Flushing Meadows Park.
There was also talk about installing gas tanks at the park, but that was vehemently opposed by the community due to safety concerns and dropped.
The tram was supposed to operate from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekends until the end of June and daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. after that through Labor Day.
Asked what had happened to the tram this year, the Parks Department sent the following comment: “A 16-seat electric cart currently provides transportation for senior swim classes and during special events. Operating the cart is more efficient than the tram as it uses fewer staff and does not require special fuel to be brought in.”