Revel is suspending service in New York after a man was killed on one of the electric mopeds shared in Queens, making him the second customer to die using the service in recent weeks.
According to New York PostJeremy Malave, 32, was heading north on Woodhaven Boulevard in Middle Village at 3:15 a.m.ET Tuesday when he lost control of the Revel moped, hit a street light on a median and was thrown from the vehicle. He was found by police at the scene with a severe head injury and taken to North Shore Forest Hills Hospital where he was pronounced dead. It was not known if he was wearing a helmet, provided by Revel.
Earlier this month, CBS News reporter Nina Kapur, 26, died while riding as a passenger on a Revel moped. Police said the driver of the moped swerved because he believed a car was pulling out of a location and was trying to avoid it. Police said Kapur was not wearing a helmet, as required by the company. The next day a 38-year-old man was seriously injured with a head injury while riding a Revel scooter in Queens.
On Tuesday, Revel said it would suspend service to New York “until further notice” while it assesses the safety of its fleet of electric mopeds. The company also operates in Austin, Miami and Washington, DC, and recently announced plans to launch soon in San Francisco. A spokesperson for Revel declined to answer questions about what security measures the company would review or whether it would suspend service in other cities. “At this time, we will not provide any further comment on this,” the company said.
New York Runners – Effective today, the New York service will be closed until further notice. We are reviewing and strengthening our passenger responsibility and safety measures and communicating with city officials, and look forward to serving you again in the near future.
– Revel (@_GoRevel) July 28, 2020
The moped company has proven to be extremely popular since its launch in New York City in 2018. Since then, the company has seen its ridership reach 300,000 people. These customers have ridden 3 million trips on Revel mopeds for a total of 10 million miles. The service has become even more popular this year, with the coronavirus pandemic dissuading many from using the metro and buses and looking for alternative modes of transportation.
It costs $ 19 to sign up for the app-based service. Tap a scooter on the map to reserve it (up to 15 minutes in advance) or reserve it right away. Each ride costs $ 1 to start ($ 2 if someone is accompanying you), then $ 0.25 per minute. Each scooter also comes with two helmets, one large and one small, which are enclosed in a cargo compartment at the rear.
But the company has also come under scrutiny. The company has been hit by at least a dozen lawsuits alleging its mopeds are poorly maintained and unsafe to drive, according to Ny1. Revel says all of its mopeds are inspected by qualified mechanics before they are allowed on the road. On Monday, Representative Adriano Espaillat, a Democrat from Manhattan, called on the New York government to shut down the service.
After Kapur’s death, CBS this morning Share a story featuring images of Revel customers misusing the company’s scooters by riding on crowded sidewalks, running red lights, or engaging in other dangerous behavior.
The company responded by noting that its mopeds are capped at 30 mph and that customers must have a valid driver’s license (but notably not a motorcycle license) to drive. Mopeds are confined to local streets and are not allowed on sidewalks, highways or bridges. Revel users are expected to watch a short instructional video in the app. They also have the option of taking a 30-minute in-person lesson. “We take reports of security breaches very seriously and work closely with city officials to remedy any breaches,” Revel said in a statement to CBS.
The company also tracks its mopeds using GPS technology and suspends customers caught breaking its rules. Earlier this month, Revel suspended more than 1,000 customers for breach of security.
At a press conference on Tuesday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called Revel’s approach to security “unsatisfactory and unacceptable,” according to the New York Times. Yet the company’s decision to suspend service was its own and not the result of an order from the city.
De Blasio says @_GoRevel’s decision to shut down was the right thing to do. “Unfortunately, it turned out to be dangerous. Says the city will not allow it to reopen unless they are convinced it can be done safely.
– Erin Durkin (@erinmdurkin) 28 juillet 2020
We don’t know what the future holds for Revel. Many of the issues it now faces have also been faced by its counterparts in the shared electric scooter industry. Scooter startups like Bird and Lime have been hit with dozens of security breach lawsuits. And as the number of people injured or killed while riding scooters increased, many predictions were made about the imminent demise of scooter sharing. Yet shared scooters are still around and are still ridden by thousands of customers across the United States, Asia, and Europe.