Revel‘s ubiquitous bright blue mopeds will no longer zoom through the streets of Brooklyn. At least, not right now. As of Tuesday, July 28th, the company will pause operations of their electric scooters in New York City.
“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 said in a tweet.
The news comes after two tragic deaths on Revels this month. On Saturday, July 18, 26-year-old reporter Nina Kapur passed away after a fatal accident on Franklin Street. Early Tuesday morning, 32-year-old Jeremy Malave died after crashing into a light post on Woodhaven Boulevard in Queens.
“Transportation alternatives are important but safety on our streets is paramount,” Mayor Bill DeBlasio said in a tweet. “We spoke with Revel this morning and they are shutting down until we can find a way to make shared mopeds safe.”
Revel’s first fleet of 68 mopeds came as a surprise to many when the pay-per-ride vehicles first launched in North Brooklyn in July of 2018. While some eagerly embraced the eco-friendly transit alternatives, which only require a driver’s license to rent, others worried about the potential hazards the mopeds may cause, especially in a city with as much traffic and roadside chaos as New York.
New York City’s leadership had been careful to not allow electric scooter companies like Bird or Lime, which were gaining popularity in other cities at the time, to operate in the city, so why did Revel gain access to New York’s streets? The company launched in Brooklyn, before expanding to Washington D.C., Miami, Austin and beyond. Only in the past few months have private citizens been permitted to operate e-scooters and e-bikes on some New York City streets, nearly two years after Revel’s pilot program launched.
Now, with Revel on hold, New Yorkers’ have shared varying opinions on what they want to see in the future for the dockless shared scooters.
“Smart. I’ve seen so many reckless Revel drivers, running red lights, riding in bike lanes, and, once, hitting a woman at high speed in the park,” Vanishing New York author Jeremiah Moss said in a tweet. “They’re also extremely quiet, which is not great as a cyclist when they come up behind you without warning.” Many more Twitter users shared stories of irresponsible Revel driving or accidents they’d witnessed, while others called for more traffic regulations, like banning SUVs and other large vehicles known to cause fatalities to those in more vulnerable vehicles, like mopeds.