NYC Residents Aren't Happy About Revel's EV Rideshare Plans
New York City residents are accustomed to traveling and commuting without owning vehicles. Many residents find car ownership too costly when considering the initial price, cost of car insurance, maintenance, fuel, parking, and stress from driving in the city.
With abundant options like public transit and ever-increasing rideshare services, you don’t need to own a car to move around the city. In fact, as reported by CNN, NYC is tired of new rideshare services that are keeping the roads congested.
Revel, a transportation startup, is being met with criticism from NYC officials and regulators such as the Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC). NYC is known to have congested roads | Twenty20
What problems are rideshare companies causing?
Rideshare is convenient but it has led to fewer people taking transit, biking, or walking. As reported by CNN, in 2017, taxi speeds in Manhattan slowed to a crawl, and only hit 5 mph. Traffic congestion also contributes to increased air pollution.
Companies like Uber and Lyft wanted to help end car ownership, but the streets just ended up more congested with increased rideshare vehicles. That’s why, in 2018, NYC regulators temporarily banned For-Hire Vehicle licenses that rideshare employees need to be able to drive.
Unfortunately, Revel is using an exception that the regulators left for electric vehicles (EVs) as a loophole to create a new rideshare service.
NYC’s licensing policy has a loophole for electric vehicles
The restrictions on For-Hire licenses were meant to help the city improve traffic problems and taxi driver earnings. Regulators left an exception for EVs to encourage licensed drivers to go green. The temporary license block wasn’t meant to allow room for new electric rideshare services.
Revel is best known for its NYC-based fleet of rental mopeds but plans on taking advantage of the licensing loophole by bringing in new electric vehicles. Revel plans to own and operate its own electric car fleet, hire drivers, and provide them with benefits and bonuses. Employees will drive Revel’s EVs instead of their own gas cars.
What are NYC regulators saying about Revel’s plans?
CNN reported that Frank Reig, Revel’s CEO, is confident that they will be able to obtain rideshare licenses. According to Reig, “In terms of city administration goals and TLC goals, and what they’d like rideshare companies to do, we’re doing everything.”
However, New York City’s TLC Chair, Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk said that “the electric battery exemption exists to encourage already-licensed cars to go green,” not for new companies to enter a crowded market that continues to negatively impact the Yellow Taxi sector.