NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The chairman of the City Council’s Transportation Committee is introducing legislation that would require more oversight over shared moped companies like Revel.
As CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reports, the affordable moped sharing service Revel expanded to every borough except Staten Island in March.
Months later, the company disciplined 2,000 users for bad behavior and on July 28 it halted its New York City operations following the deaths of three riders in 10 days, including our colleague Nina Kapur.
For weeks, CBS2 has been demanding answers on how the city allowed the company to operate here in the first place. From what we’ve learned, the city had the authority to regulate it but never did because officials thought it was the state’s job.
“That’s when they fail and that’s when we as a city fail and that’s what we try to correct,” said City Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is introducing the Moped Safety and Oversight Bill.
It will require the Department of Transportation regulate moped-sharing companies like Revel through various ways, including creating a certification process companies have to complete, requiring proof the rider has their helmet on at all times possibly through sensor technology, and requiring users of the mopeds get a specialized license.
“This must be a very specific test and this must be a very specific license,” Congressman Adriano Espaillat said.
Espaillat initially called for Revel to suspend its operations in July.
“They’re not bicycles, they have a motor,” he said. “On a hill like this one, they can go as fast as 40 miles an hour.”
“We need to make them accountable, and we need to look at any area on how we can regulate the company, even though they’ve been allowed to put those vehicles on the street by the state of New York,” Rodriguez said on July 27.
But not all lawmakers support this legislation.
“I think that the Department of Transportation has done a very good job,” Councilman Antonio Reynoso said. “And I’m very concerned that if we let politics get involved, we’re going to reinforce car culture.”
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson says he’ll review the legislation.
In July, CBS2 asked Johnson if he thought it was appropriate for Revel to self-police or if the DOT should be more involved.
“I do think that DOT needs to take a more hands-on and affirmative role,” Johnson said.
Revel plans to resume service soon with new safety measures being reviewed by the mayor. It will require users to share a selfie with their helmet on before the vehicle can start. It will also mandate users to watch a 20 minute in-app training video, followed by a test.
Back in July, Rozner asked Rodriguez why the city didn’t require lessons.
“Why aren’t you requiring them to give a lesson to every single person that registers for the app?” Rozner asked.
“Anyone who rents it, they should do it,” Rodriguez said. “However, the question is how do we move for those things to be mandated and to have consequences? And I feel that enforcement is a key issue.”
Revel claims it’s tried contacting Rodriguez to engage with him on the legislation, but the councilman says he has not heard from the company since it ceased operations in July.
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