As local e-scooter rental companies continue operating in San Francisco amid the pandemic, a new e-scooter startup is slated to soon wheel in some 400 electric mopeds — the same ones that have already inundated Oakland — which will be available to rent in August.
In the pandemic's infancy, all but one of SF’s four e-scooter rental companies shuttered. However as time went on, Bird, Lime, and Uber-owned (and now defunct) Jump chose to begin operations earlier this spring; Spin, which is owned by Ford, is the only local e-scooter company that's continuously operated in San Francisco since the global health crisis began. And come August, e-scooter startup Revel is set to introduce some competition into the mix with a fleet of 432 gas-free motorbikes.
Thread:— Darwin BondGraham (@DarwinBondGraha) January 31, 2020
Some Oakland residents are upset about the new Revel rental mopeds that suddenly appeared all over town, taking up parking, illegally parked, blocking sidewalks, seemingly abandoned for days, etc.
I requested records of complaints, and oh boy, here we go....
According to a release from Revel, the service area in San Francisco will initially cover the following neighborhoods: "Cow Hollow, Dogpatch, the Financial District, Golden Gate Heights, Haight-Ashbury, the Mission District, Outer Mission, Pacific Heights, the Richmond District, the Tenderloin and The Castro."
Operation areas are set to expand within the “near future" and riders can get from one zip code to the next via an "engine designed to help riders navigate San Francisco’s famous hills." (Riders who frequently use scooters by Spin and Lime can attest to how those units lose steam — electrons? — as they ascend up a steep grade.)
Each Revel rental comes equipped with two helmets (one for the rider, the other for a possible passenger) that must be worn at all times, and the company will also provide complimentary liability insurance.
Alas, only 21-year-old or older, driver's-licensed motorists can use Revel mopeds, which can be reserved and rented on the company's app. But passengers can be as young as 18 years old.
Revel mopeds can carry up to two riders and can only operate within the aforementioned service areas in SF. "Revels," as they're called, are capped at a speed of 30mph — double that of the city's more ubiquitous stand-and-ride e-scooters. So yes: don't be that “idiot” who rode a sluggish scooter across the Bay Bridge last year.
Revel rentals will cost $1.15 to "unlock" and start; after that, they will cost riders roughly $0.39 a minute to operate — noticeably more than other comparable e-scooter companies. Lime and Spin, for example, have similar starting prices, but fall to $0.15 a minute while operating... but that price can surge north of $.033 a minute during peak hours.
On Revel's website, there is no specific mention of how often they’re cleaning their units, so opt to glide a Lysol wipe on yours next month. There is, however, a "24/7" team of full- and part-time staffers that make up the company, many of which help replace discharged moped batteries.
Per TechCrunch, the company said it will begin hiring workers in SF once it launches in August, participating in the First Source Hiring Program to secure local employees.
Certain financial assistance programs, as well as military discounts, can be secured for future applicable riders. Revel also offers free riding lessons for interested parties who'd like to test the mopeds out — and not burden our already strained healthcare system with unnecessary injuries.
Image: Courtesy of Revel