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Revel to rival Uber? Moped-sharing start-up reveals plans to launch Tesla ride-share service in NYC

Moped-sharing starting up Revel is looking to challenge Uber by starting its own ride-hailing service.

Revel has purchased 50 bright blue electric Tesla Model Y vehicles for the initial New York City launch in May, but the city says it still isn’t licensed, according to Verge

Customers can order the vehicles 24 hours, 7 days a week through the Revel app. The rides will charge on a per-mile basis with with Black Car Fund surcharges and booking fee added to the fare.

The initiative comes after Revel suspended it moped service for 60 days last summer after the deaths of three different riders, Nina Kapur, 26, Jeremy Malave, 32, and Francis Nunez, 30, who crashed their mopeds in July and August.  

Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered the suspension of the service for 30 days following the deaths.

A fourth person was killed after she was hit by a person using the electric scooter after the suspension was lifted. 

Revel announced plans to challenge taxis and Ubers by purchasing a fleet of 50 bright blue electric Tesla Model Y vehicles to operate in Manhattan below 42nd street. Revel says they will hire drivers to operate the vehicles instead of relying on gig economy workers. 

A driver transports a passenger in one of the bright blue electric Tesla vehicles to operate as a ride-share vehicles in Manhattan below 42nd street

A driver transports a passenger in one of the bright blue electric Tesla vehicles to operate as a ride-share vehicles in Manhattan below 42nd street

A driver transports a passenger in one of the bright blue electric Tesla vehicles to operate as a ride-share vehicles in Manhattan below 42nd street

The company has seen a dozen lawsuits over alleged safety lapses involving the scooters. 

This has led to Revel making changes including the photo verification of users wearing helmets and answering a 21-question test to utilize the service.

Kapur, 26, a CBS reporter from Newton, Pennsylvania, was the first person to die in a Revel moped crash. She was riding as a passenger when she was killed in Brooklyn in July.

Kapur was being driven by a 26-year-old man who claimed he swerved to avoid a car that was pulling out, according to unnamed police sources.

Both Kapur and the driver were thrown on to the roadway but it is thought that neither were wearing helmets. They were taken to Bellevue Hospital where Kapur was pronounced dead. 

The driver suffered only minor injuries.

As part of new ride-hailing venture, the company plans to build an in-house charging station to repower the vehicles offering enough power for 100 miles in under 20 minutes, according to Business Insider

The company currently 3,000 mopeds across the five boroughs and a EV charging station in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.

A mock-up shows Revel's plans to build an in-house charging station to repower vehicles offering enough power for 100 miles in under 20 minutes

A mock-up shows Revel’s plans to build an in-house charging station to repower vehicles offering enough power for 100 miles in under 20 minutes

 The company has been growing due to Series A round in October 2019 lead by Ibex Investors. The group which included further investments from Blue Collective, Launch Capital, Maniv Mobility. The group was joined by Toyota Al Ventures for the equity round. 

Revel says the ride share rates will be comparable with Lyft and Uber. The company plans to hire drivers instead of relying on gig economy workers, according to TechCrunch

Drivers employed by Revel will have access to health care, paid time off, and training. 

The initiative comes after Revel suspended it moped service for 60 days last summer after the deaths of three different riders

The initiative comes after Revel suspended it moped service for 60 days last summer after the deaths of three different riders

Revel co-founder and CEO Frank Reig’s says the reason for not using gig workers is he wants to treat workers fairly.

Reig said the money Lyft and Uber spent combating California’s Proposition 22, could have been better spent on maintaining its workforce.

The NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission has clashed with Lyft and Uber over limiting the number of for-hire licenses they hand out. Uber skirted TLC rules when they launched in New York City in 2012.

‘Revel is not licensed to operate for-hire transportation vehicles in NYC,’ commented a Taxi and Limousine service spokesperson. 

Revel says as of this month the service has approved its base application and issued their base license number.  

The company plans to start the service initially with drop-offs and pick-ups below 42nd street in Manhattan, according to Verge. 

The company plans to expands into the other boroughs and neighborhoods based on data and popularity of the service. 

A passenger looks at the window of Revel's new Tesla Model Y ride-share vehicle.

A passenger looks at the window of Revel’s new Tesla Model Y ride-share vehicle.

Revel's Tesla Model Y series ride-share vehicle has the front-facing car seat removed for accessibility for those with disabilities or extra leg room for passengers looking to sprawl out

Revel’s Tesla Model Y series ride-share vehicle has the front-facing car seat removed for accessibility for those with disabilities or extra leg room for passengers looking to sprawl out

Revel's Tesla Model Y series ride-share vehicle contains an interactive touchscreen to control music and temperatures along with a regularly cleaned Covid shield

Revel’s Tesla Model Y series ride-share vehicle contains an interactive touchscreen to control music and temperatures along with a regularly cleaned Covid shield

The vehicles will contain accessibility features including the removal of the front seat, regularly cleaned Covid shield, and an interactive touchscreen to control music and temperature. 

City streets were deadly in 2020. 96 pedestrians, 24 cyclists, 48 motorcyclists and people in 66 vehicles were killed in traffic fatalities, according to the New York City Department of Transportation. 

CBS New York reporter Nina Kapur, 26, (pictured) was the first person to die on a Revel moped in July

CBS New York reporter Nina Kapur, 26, (pictured) was the first person to die on a Revel moped in July

Traffic fatalities in New York City | Source: New York City Department of Transportation
Year Pedestrians Cyclists Motorcyclists Vehicle
2020 96 24 48 66
2019 113 27 25 43
2018 106 10 39 38
2017 103 22 33 56
2016 141 17 19 43
2015 131 14 22 56
2014 132 20 37 60
2013 169 12 39 59

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