Revel's electric mopeds returned to New York City on Thursday morning with "new and enhanced" safety, education and accountability features after a month-long hiatus, the scooter-sharing company announced. The company suspended its service at the end of July after its mopeds were involved in more than two dozen accidents andin the city.
In a series of tweets, the company told customers that they will now be required to complete in-app safety training "designed to sharpen your skills and your knowledge of the rules of the road." The training consists of an instructional video and a 21-question quiz, which customers must correctly complete twice.
Riders and their passenger will also have to take a helmet selfie to upload into the app. Revel said on its website that its team monitors the photos and suspends users who are not wearing helmets, and that the mopeds will only power on once it's confirmed that users are wearing the helmets. Users can now buy Department of Transportation-certified helmets on Revel's website.
The company has also implemented a system that automatically detects when a rider drives in the wrong direction or travels into a prohibited area, including parks, bridges and tunnels. Both Revel users and non-users can report "bad behavior" through the app or website.
Additional changes include suspending overnight service from midnight to 5 a.m. on a pilot basis and offering free Revel lessons seven days a week.
"Revel was born and bred in New York City, and we're proud to relaunch in our hometown with an even better service," Revel CEO and co-founder Frank Reig said in a press release. "With support from partners like the NYC Department of Transportation, we're coming back stronger than ever and providing continued access to the more than 360,000 New Yorkers who rely on Revel to get around their city."
In a safety study published in June, Revel revealed it "has not been thoroughly evaluated in terms of safety," but that its performance has indicated "a higher safety rate than other modes." Out of 884,140 rides from July to December 2019, the company reported, there were 155 incidents that resulted in injury or property damage.
During that time, however, the company also reported that there were 5,979 user violations, including for not wearing a helmet, reckless riding, riding with a minor, and riding on a sidewalk, in a bike lane or in the wrong direction.
As of July 5 this year, there werein New York City involving Revel's mopeds.
The company has since updated its violation and suspension policy. Users or their passengers who do not wear a helmet face suspension or may be required to take a mandatory training, and multiple violations will result in being banned from the service. Either temporary or permanent suspensions will occur if people share their Revel account, ride with a minor, run red lights or stop signs, or ride their moped on a sidewalk, bike lane, major bridge or tunnel, highway, park, or in the wrong direction.
"This is just the start — we're always working to improve your Revel experience and will be continuing the conversation about safety," the company tweeted.