Shared Motor Scooter Company Revel to Expand Into Brooklyn and Queens

They're back! Photo: Revel.
They're back! Photo: Revel.

Brooklyn-based Revel will dramatically expand the footprint of its rentable electric motorcycles through Brooklyn and into Queens, company bigwigs announced on Wednesday.

Just 68 of the electric-powered scooters launched in Brooklyn last summer as part of a nine-month pilot. Now, the owners of the Bushwick-based transportation company say 1,000 more of the peppy roadsters are hitting the streets in the two boroughs.

“We have seen our mopeds become an important part of riders’ routines and an integrated part of the transit landscape,” said Paul Suhey, the co-founder of Revel, which prefers the term “mopeds,” even though their vehicles have no pedals or any other manner of human propulsion.Expanding to 1,000 mopeds across Brooklyn and Queens will help even more New Yorkers meet their transportation needs. Revel is here to stay in New York City.”

During the pilot program, users could only start and end their rides in Bushwick, Williamsburg and Greenpoint — but now they’ll be able to hop on and off in 20 neighborhoods, according to Suhey and his co-founder Frank Reig. (A map on the company website indicates all of Brooklyn above Prospect Park and the very western (and gentrifying) edge of western Queens. It’s a zone familiar to frustrated borough Citi Bike users.)

Revel is swapping out its pilot vehicles for newer ones that can hold a passenger. The company is also offering an upgraded payment system — after registering your driver’s license on the app for a one-time $19 fee, riders unlock the nearest bike for $1 (or $2 if with a passenger) and then 25 cents per minute after that. The first minute is free so riders can get used to the machine and fasten their helmets. Pausing the ride costs 10 cents per minute, the founders said.

Two riders test out Revel. Photo: Revel.
Two riders test out Revel. Photo: Revel.

Revel scooters are not illegal throttle-powered e-bikes, which Mayor de Blasio still insists are dangerous despite the city’s own data to prove otherwise. Rather, Revels are legally allowed to ride along with traffic because they have a license plate, meaning they are registered with New York State. And the company carries insurance. The machines do not exceed 29 miles per hour, the company said. The rental system is more like a Car2Go car share than, say, Citi Bike because of the insurance and state vehicular registration.

But just because they’re legal, doesn’t mean they’re easy — this reporter got to test a Revel out last year and nearly plowed into the company’s rep to avoid hitting a parked truck. Company officials do say on the website that the throttle is “sensitive.”

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