- Shared moped service Revel announced Thursday it returned to New York City with a slew of new safety requirements, just under a month after it suspended service following multiple rider deaths.
- In a series of tweets, the company said riders will be required to complete in-app safety training to gain access to its mopeds, and that they must take a helmet selfie before each ride can begin.
- Revel also said it has expanded its lessons program to the four boroughs where it operates, and has added an automatic alert system to detect when a rider enters a park, travels the wrong way down a one-way street, or crosses a prohibited bridge or tunnel. The company also said it has updated its Violation and Suspension Policy to punish those who break its rules.
Today we’re relaunching Revel in the city where it all began. We’re rolling out new and enhanced education, safety, and accountability features, and there are a few things you’ll have to do to start riding again. (1/3) pic.twitter.com/WVySpa2j1L— Revel (@_GoRevel) August 27, 2020
Revel came under severe scrutiny in July after three riders died while using its mopeds. The company quickly pulled out of New York City so it could evaluate "rider accountability and safety measures" and reassess its path forward in the city. Service continued unabated in the other cities where it operates: Austin, TX; Miami; Oakland, CA; and Washington, DC.
Revel’s reentry comes a week after New York City Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez introduced legislation requiring the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) establish procedures for shared moped fleets and require them to implement safety protocols, including monitoring helmet use.
Proud to stand alongside @RepEspaillat as we discuss a bill that will “Require the Department of Transportation to establish procedures by which shared moped organizations may apply for approval to operate shared moped fleets in New York City.” pic.twitter.com/J9zRCyy0xq— Ydanis Rodriguez (@ydanis) August 20, 2020
"Throughout these past few weeks the City has seen three fatal crashes related to shared e-mopeds. It is clear that we need additional regulations that will increase the safety and oversight of shared moped organizations who wish to operate in the City," Rodriguez, who chairs the Transportation Committee, said at a press conference alongside Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-NY.
"It will take each of us — city, state, local leaders and companies — working together to ensure proper oversight and accountability measures are in place for moped operators and riders," Espaillat added.
For its part, Revel indicated a willingness to cooperate with Rodriguez and the legislation he put forward. A company spokesperson told Streetsblog NYC after the bill was introduced that Revel has been in "close communication" with Rodriguez and "remain committed to partnering with him." The bill has been referred to the Transportation Committee, where it awaits further action.
Revel has also been keen to showcase the role it has played in expanding transportation options in New York City. Company officials trumpeted a July report from New York University's Rudin Center for Transportation and Sam Schwartz Engineering, which found that Revel averaged 7,284 trips in May, up from just under 3,000 a day in each of the prior three months. The company also offered expanded service and free membership to essential workers and a 30-day free trial to delivery drivers.
Rodriguez said Thursday he is still not convinced. In a statement, he said Revel's return is a "matter of great concern" as he said the company has not addressed all the safety issues previously raised. Rodriguez called on Revel to improve its community engagement and to have public meetings where residents can express their concerns.
"We will be closely monitoring Revel's return to the City and their newly implemented safety measures," Rodriguez said. "We sincerely hope that these innovative changes will create a safer environment for all riders and pedestrians."