- Shared moped company Revel announced Tuesday it had shut down its service in New York City "until further notice."
- In a tweet, Revel said it was evaluating "rider accountability and safety measures" and reassessing its path forward in the city. Local reports assert the shutdown comes after an "epidemic" of Revel crashes in the city, including two that were fatal.
- A Revel spokeswoman declined to comment on Smart Cities Dive's requests for further information regarding the review of those accountability and safety measures, and whether it is exploring pulling service from other cities. The company also operates in Austin, TX; Miami; Oakland, CA; and Washington, DC.
New York riders - starting today, NYC service will be shut down until further notice. We’re reviewing and strengthening our rider accountability and safety measures and communicating with city officials, and we look forward to serving you again in the near future.— Revel (@_GoRevel) July 28, 2020
Revel launched its moped service in New York City — its first market — to great fanfare in August 2018. At the time, co-founder Paul Suhey said in a statement that the shared mopeds, which were required to stay out of bike lanes and off sidewalks, were "a missing link from New York's transportation network."
But this shutdown comes on the back of tragic incidents: Jeremy Malave, 32, died when he lost control of his scooter in Queens early Tuesday morning; and Nina Kapur, 26, died on July 18 when a Revel she was a passenger on crashed in Brooklyn, according to media reports.
In his regular media briefing Tuesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the scooters "have proven to be really problematic," and "really, really dangerous." Revel cannot operate in the city unless it finds a way to make the scooters safe, he added.
"We have seen too many times in the last few days painful realities of people injured and even worse lives lost by folks who were just trying to have an enjoyable experience and rented a Revel scooter," de Blasio said.
City Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, who chairs the New York City Council's Transportation Committee, echoed those sentiments in a statement of his own, while acknowledging they have filled a need for delivery service workers and young people who lack reliable options. Given the safety concerns around mopeds and dockless devices, Rodriguez said lawmakers will hold a hearing on the issue soon.
"It is clear that Revel needs to reevaluate their electric sharing moped service before returning to operations," Rodriguez said. "At the same time, our City leadership must work to put in place all necessary protections required to keep New Yorkers safe."
The safety concerns around Revel scooters also caught the eye of those in Congress. Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-NY, sent a letter to the company after Kapur’s death urging it to remove the scooters from use. In a Facebook post Tuesday, Espaillat said "[it] should not take 2 deaths for a company to do the right thing," and called for a concerted effort to ensure moped safety if they return to the streets.
"There should now be a concerted effort by the city, with the input of key community stakeholders, to ensure the safety of revel [sic] users and others on our streets before the company restores operations in our city," Espaillat wrote.
Revel's service appears to be continuing unabated elsewhere, with a launch set for August in San Francisco. In Washington, DC, the District Department of Transportation's (DDOT) moped pilot program is set to run through Sept. 30. A DDOT spokesperson told Smart Cities Dive in an email that the safety of riders is of "paramount importance," and that the agency "continues to monitor Revel's performance in the District and how the vehicles integrate in to the transportation network as part of our pilot program."