As a journalist living in the heart of London, there are not many cities that I would prefer to live in. Except one: New York. Arguably the greatest city in the world, it is the global capital of law, finance, art, music, theatre, media, food and so much more.
It is gritty and full of character, with a unique cocktail of people that cannot be matched anywhere in the world – not even London. Everything is big, from skyscrapers to sports stadiums that bellow down on a flood of yellow taxis.
Within this bustling city lives a new app-based startup that goes by the name of Revel, which has introduced electric mopeds aimed at making travelling around the streets of New York easier and more fun.
Revel was founded by two New Yorkers who wanted their city to have more versatility and enjoyment. Through an intuitive smart-phone app, users are able to find, reserve and ride Revel’s 100% electric mopeds. In a congested city full to the brim, shared electric mopeds could become an integral part of transit networks, filling gaps not served by bike share, car share, scooter share or public transit.
Revel is, as General Manager Lauren Vriens tells me, “Independent. Creative. Gutsy.” She says that the company isn’t afraid to dream big. “We are accountable. To our customers. To our cities. To each other. We are humble. Human. Lighthearted. We take our work seriously, but not ourselves.”
But introducing a new transit option like this requires close partnerships with local communities. Revels works with stakeholders in the communities in which it operates and commits to hiring local, full-time employees.
“We are focused on providing industry-leading customer service and seamless user experience,” says Vriens.
“Shared electric mopeds are a great first step to relieving congestion and enabling more people to forgo car ownership. They seamlessly park in spaces too small for vehicles on city streets and take up less space on roads.”
In the two weeks since its expansion, Revel’s ridership has tripled – and the numbers are increasing. It’s burst on to the scene, directly addressing the problems many New Yorkers experience every day. As Vriens says, parking and congestion have crippled many major US cities like NYC, so shared mobility services like Revel are “a no-brainer.”
E-mobility is vital to transport progression, especially in urban ecosystems with high emission levels. Electric transportation options like Revel are an important first step to reducing local air pollution levels in cities like New York.
Vriens explains that the availability of options is one component, but access is almost as critical. “That is why we have created a Revel Access Program, which provides a 40% discount on rides for those who are on public assistance programs or live in public housing.”
But how do we convince customers to ditch their car and jump on a Revel? Well, it all comes down to price and accessibility. In cities like New York, where car ownership is already decreasing, shared mobility services like Revel are put in place to help augment public transit and offer a less expensive means of private transport. The 50-mile range of Revel mopeds also gives the added benefit of being used for first mile, last mile, and complete trips.
“Revel is very deliberate about working with communities to ensure we are rolling out our service in a responsible way. This is why we started with a pilot of 68 mopeds in July 2018 and used that experience to refine our service and our moped before launching a much bigger roll-out.”
So far, says Vriens, the response from local officials in NY has been overwhelmingly positive. It seems that they are excited about the potential Revel has to be an economic multiplier for communities.
“We have received a great response from the 1,000 mopeds that we recently launched in Brooklyn and Queens, and we are looking forward to serving more communities in the future!”