Scooter-sharing service Revel is working toward a relaunch in New York City, the company said Tuesday, after three fatal crashes in 10 days led it to suspend operations locally.
Revel, which is still operating in four other cities, shut down in NYC on July 28, hours after a fatal crash. City leaders made clear the company's record was "unacceptable" and that major changes would be required.
City Council Member Antonio Reynoso tweeted Monday afternoon that the service was getting ready to relaunch, and the company said Tuesday that while no date is planned, it's working toward that goal.
"Over the past three weeks, we have continued our ongoing work of reviewing and strengthening our rider accountability and safety measures. These include new features for confirming that users are wearing a helmet and additional mandatory in-app training, which we have been creating in partnership with industry experts," Revel said in a statement. "During this time, we have continued to actively communicate with city officials and community leaders. We are in the process of finalizing these measures and, while we do not have an announcement to make at this time, we will have more information available to share soon."
Revel crashes on July 18, July 25 and July 28 ultimately lead to three deaths. The company previously suspended more than 1,000 riders over the course of the summer for other safety violations.
It continues to operate in Austin, Miami, Oakland and Washington DC.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that city officials spoke to Revel executives after the July 28 death and made clear the company’s safety record is “an unacceptable state of affairs.”
“When you see an incident, a few incidents, it causes concern,” de Blasio said at the time. “Our people have been talking to Revel, and they’ve been making changes, but not enough changes is the bottom line. This has just gotten to be too much.”
Revel's electric mopeds are limited to speeds of 30 miles per hour, and its posted rules required riders to wear a helmet — but that hasn't always been the case, with riders spotted helmetless before. The vehicles are also prohibited on sidewalks and in bike lanes, and are intended to ride in the roadways with traffic.
The black and blue scooters, which require a driver’s license but no training to rent, had been seen as an alternative to taxis and subways during the coronavirus pandemic. The company had seen ridership nearly double since March.
An attorney who represents seven people who have suffered injuries in Revel accidents says the company wasn't held to strict enough standards as, for example, Citi Bike.
"I think Revel could've done more to make riders understand these are not toys, there's a risk to riding them," said attorney Daniel Flanzig. "Finally the city is stepping in and realizing that Revel needs to take a break, step back, take a look at their practices in terms of safety, and figure out if this is something that New York can handle."
Revel deployed its electric-powered mopeds to city streets in May 2019, ushering in a new wave of ride-sharing in an industry dominated by car services like Uber and Lyft. Since then, at least a dozen lawsuits have been filed against the company over injuries and scooter malfunctions.
"No one should be running a business that is not safe," de Blasio said during a July news conference. "Unfortunately, this has been proven to be not safe. We will work with Revel, we will not allow them to reopen unless we are convinced it can be done safely."