Revel Transit, Inc. announced via Twitter on Tuesday that it would halt service in New York City until further notice. The company, an electric moped sharing service that launched in the area two years ago, has faced pressure from city politicians following a string of accidents, two of them fatal.
A July 28 New York Post article by Julia Marsh, David Meyer, and Natalie Musumeci reported that Revel’s abrupt announcement followed the death of a 32-year-old Brooklyn rider, Jeremy Malave, who died after he lost control of his Revel scooter and crashed into a light pole. Though Malave was wearing a helmet, police sources reported that it was not properly secured. Earlier this month, 26-year-old television reporter Nina Kapur was killed while riding as a Revel scooter passenger.
The same article quoted Mayor Bill de Blasio, who called the scooters “really problematic,” during his daily City Hall press briefing on Tuesday. He commended the company’s decision to shut down, stating, “I’ve been very clear with Revel — they cannot open in this city unless they find a way to make the service safe.”
According to an article by Harlem World Magazine, Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) said he was “relieved that Revel suspended service and acknowledged that its standards for operational safety, customer training, and rider accountability fall short of protecting the public health and safety of New Yorkers.”
Looking ahead, he said, “there should now be a concerted effort with city officials and the input of key community stakeholders, to ensure the safety of Revel users and others on our streets before the company restores operations in our city.” He noted that while “New York has and always will be a center for innovation, especially in the transportation space, [it] cannot come at the expense of our safety.”
Not surprisingly, a slew of lawsuits have flowed from Revel accidents in New York, including complaints alleging brake malfunction, passenger injury, and a collision with a Revel driver who fled the scene.
The company, which also operates in Austin, Miami, Oakland, and Washington, D.C., will have to review its practices to make safety modifications, especially since the business has surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, Harlem World Magazine reported. Revel received 4,181 daily average rides in early March, the company saw the figure more than double to 8,881 by the end of May.
Currently, anyone with a valid driver’s license can operate a Revel scooter whose speedometer tops out at 30mph. Though the mopeds come with helmets, riders sometimes decline to wear them, Harlem World Magazine reported.