Scooter-sharing company Revel plans to launch an all-electric e-hail car fleet in May to compete with Uber, it said Wednesday — but the city says: not so fast.
The controversial company, which lost three riders in fatal crashes last summer, has slowed the expansion of its “moped-share” program and moved onto electric bikes and for-hire cars.
On Wednesday the company said the Taxi and Limousine Commission had approved it to launch its 50-car all-Tesla fleet, which Revel claims will be manned entirely by full-time drivers — in contrast to companies like Uber and Lyft, which use independent city-licensed contractors.
But the TLC said no such approval had been given — and accused Revel of trying to take advantage of rules intended to encourage existing drivers to transition to electric vehicles.
“TLC capped for-hire vehicles because supply already exceeds demand. The electric battery exemption exists to encourage already-licensed cars to go green, not to flood an already saturated marker or to disenfranchise the Yellow Taxi sector in Manhattan,” TLC Chair Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk said in a statement.
“This rider-share scheme deviates from the spirit of those rules, and TLC will not cut corners in doing its full diligence.”
Representatives for Revel said the plans fall entirely within TLC rules. They insisted TLC emails acknowledging receipt of the company’s application meant the company is a sure-bet to get a license.
“The TLC licensing process is not a discretionary process and we do not anticipate having any issues complying with all TLC rules and regulations,” Revel CEO and co-founder Frank Reig said in a statement.
The fracas isn’t the first face-off between Revel and City Hall.
After three user fatalities in 10 days last summer, Revel suspended its moped program for one month at the Department of Transportation’s behest.
The company resumed operations in August with beefed-up safety protocols, and has yet to see another user fatality in New York City.
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