Shared Motor Scooter Company Revel to Expand Into Brooklyn and Queens

Revel scooter. Photo: Revel.
Revel scooter. 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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  • Reader

    I get that there’s a legal distinction between these and full-throttle e-bikes, but the difference pretty much ends there. It’s nuts that our mayor is rolling out the red carpet for these while continuing his racist crackdown on immigrants who deliver food.

  • Elizabeth F

    Not true. These are Class B mopeds, which:
    1. Must conform to a set of design requirements. This is called “type approval.” Every moped manufacturer must get “type approval” for each model they offer. Same goes for all automobiles.
    2. Cannot exceed 30mph
    3. Has a VIN, and thus can be registered at DMV.
    4. Requires a drivers license and insurance.
    5. Cannot use bicycle infrastructure
    6. Helmet required

    In contrast, none of the above regulations apply to e-bikes — except that they cannot exceed 20mph. The lack of type approval makes it cheaper to design and sell new e-bike models. Also, e-bikes don’t have as stringent safety features (which are checked in the type approval process) — for example, there are no particular regulations on headlights or speedometers for e-bikes.

    In general, the lack of regulation and type approval for e-bikes is justifiable because their top speed is no greater than a manual bike.

    In any case, the Mayor is not “rolling out the red carpet” for anything. Class B mopeds are legal, class 1 e-bikes are legal, class 2 e-bikes (“motorized scooters”) are illegal. That’s been the law since 2004.

  • Nicholas L

    Could they make money using these to deliver food?

  • Greg Costikyan

    I’ll stick with my bike, thanks.

  • AMH

    Literally anything that’s not a car can be part of the solution. This is great.

  • Joe R.

    Yes, what’s not to like about these? No pollution, far less dangerous to pedestrians, far less use of road space, and incapable of speeding, at least more than marginally.

  • Elizabeth F

    They require a drivers license. Currently, NYS only issues licenses to citizens.

  • William Farrell

    How does the app verify whether one or two people are riding?

  • Bert Hubbard

    Hey I took video of your first rentals in Astoria .
    If you want me to publish it you can reach me at Bert Hubbard on Facebook

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  • Karen A

    Where people are parking the bikes is really inconsiderate. They take up a lot of street space, not allowing cars to park legally or efficiently. Street parking is a public right. These bikes are more of a nuisance than an asset.

  • Dan

    Looking to try out the new Revel electric scooters in Brooklyn? Use the revel promo code: hzntp for $5 off (that’s a free 20 minute moped ride)

  • qrt145

    These vehicles make more efficient use of parking space and are therefore beneficial to the transportation system. Even if each scooter used the same amount of space as a car (it doesn’t, no matter how inconsiderately parked), being a shared vehicle it gets more use. The typical car sits parked and unused about 23 hours a day.

  • Hilda

    Just passed a group of NYPD ticketing Revel riders that happened to veer into bike lane. Finally ticketing vehicles in the #bikenyc lane, but only those on two wheels.
    Be Careful Out There

  • Simon

    Not sure that’s true. Before I became a US citizen I had an NYS drivers license.

  • Elizabeth F

    Thanks for the correction. More correctly, I think that NYS currently does NOT issue licenses to undocumented immigrants. But there are proposed laws that would change that.

  • Pete Freeman

    Type in this code for your first 20 minutes free!!


  • @AMH – Two-stroke engines can pollute more than cars. That may “solve” some congestion logistics, but is not a solution.

    (And yes, I know that Revel isn’t deploying two-stroke engines, but there have been past instances where lobbyists for vehicles with two-stroke engines got their gadgets lumped in with electric motorbikes.)

  • @Hilda – “Be Careful” in the sense of, don’t drive your motorcycle in bike lanes.

  • Piotrowski

    zmnhk use my promo code to get a free 5$ of credit from revel. Thanks

  • Jennifer PuertoRicania

    Ebikes should not be in bike lanes one hit me dead.on bent my bike and i suffered bacl pain right before a marathon!

  • hastorian

    Use PROMO CODE jtgsq for a free 20 minute ride!

  • Piotrowski

    ZMNHK use my promo code to get a free 5$ of credit from revel. Thanks

    Remember to put the helmet back before closing out the app!

  • Ron

    Use promo code FCGXV for $10 towards your first rides.

  • Piotrowski

    ZMNHK use my promo code to get a FREE $ of credit from revel. Thanks

    Remember to put the helmet back before closing out the app!

  • Marvin Revel Rep

    Use the promo code dqvjr for the first 5 min. free of charge. Thanks for using Revel!

  • Piotrowski

    ZMNHK use my promo code to get a FREE $ of credit from revel. Thanks

    Remember to put the helmet back before closing out the app!