Shared electric mopeds have arrived.
The Brooklyn-based company Revel on Monday launched an e-moped sharing service in Bushwick, Greenpoint and Williamsburg, where it has begun peppering the neighborhoods with 68 black-and-blue mopeds for per-ride rentals through its mobile app.
In a city with Citi Bike, dockless bike shares and car rental services, Revel’s founders are hoping to become part of the fabric of how New Yorkers get around.
“Shared mobility is the future. Our generation isn’t going to car dealership and dropping tens of thousands of dollars to buy a new car,” said CEO and co-founder Frank Reig. “They’d rather hop on a bike, hop on an electric moped; hop in a car that they share with the rest of the neighborhood and other residents.”
Revel’s service platform is similar to car2go — users must be at least 21 years old and have a valid driver’s license (the mopeds are technically licensed motorized vehicles) — though Revel is forgoing monthly or annual memberships in favor of time-based trip charges. After a one-time, $25 fee for background checks on driver’s licenses, users are charged $4 for the first 20 minutes of a ride and an additional 25 cents per minute after that. Revel will decline service to drivers with DUIs or multiple speeding violations in recent years, Reig said.
Under state law, riders must wear a helmet — two are available in a locked back cab of the moped — and aren’t allowed to drive the mopeds on highways or over bridges. Revel offers instructional videos on how to ride the fully electric mopeds, which top out at a speed under 30 miles per hour, and also offers free lessons at their Bushwick office. The mopeds are Muvi models from the Spanish company Torrot.
Paul Suhey, Revel’s co-founder and COO, said he believes the service could help New Yorkers get around Brooklyn and Queens in more convenient ways than the city’s Manhattan-centric subway system. He said he expects the average moped trip to be between three or four miles.
“We think that complements existing transit options,” he said.
A City DOT spokeswoman said moped riders must comply with all rules of the road, including parking regulations. If a Revel moped receives a parking ticket within 24 hours from the end of their trip, the latest user is responsible for the fine.
“We appreciate that [Revel] has clearly stated safety as a priority, and we will certainly be watching closely as the program rolls out on our streets this summer,” the DOT spokeswoman said in a statement.
Brooklyn Councilman Antonio Reynoso endorsed the service as a “creative way to keep our city moving” in an area that will be deeply impacted by the L train shutdown coming next year.
“The one thing we also have to continue to do is to continue to break down car culture and start educating folks on exactly how it is we’re supposed to move in a new–age city,” Reynoso said. “What we have here is another entrant into the world of mobility that makes a lot of sense.”