Austin has one less electric vehicle fleet on its streets. On December 18, Revel, a moped-style rental company, is leaving Austin after just 13 months.
In a statement posted on social media, the Revel CEO said the company found Austin’s “deeply entrenched car culture” to be near impenetrable.
“When Revel came to Austin, we knew these were going to be challenges,” said CEO and co-founder Frank Reig on December 4th. “In addition to having a less dense urban core than our other markets, the city’s ingrained auto culture has proven difficult to penetrate, especially during COVID.”
The New York-based startup first drove to the city in November 2019. With an app-based model similar to that of Lime or Bird, Revel rents out light blue scooters that can accommodate up to two passengers and reach top speeds of 30 miles per hour. This makes them an attractive option for those who want to make quick trips between neighborhoods or across the city via city streets. At their peak, mopeds were pretty ubiquitous in some parts of the city, especially downtown and East Austin.
In an email to Tech Crunch, a company spokesperson explained Reig’s statement: “We learned that unlike markets with more robust public transportation infrastructure, Austin is a city that is still heavily dependent on the car that our electric scooters do not thrive in an environment with “car culture”. “
In fact, city traffic has hit the headlines again recently, and I-35’s route through downtown Austin has been crowned the most congested street in Texas. With the recent adoption of Proposition A, a comprehensive public transport package that was approved by voters in November, amends can come. However, it will be years before Austin can shed its “ingrained auto culture”.
Revel’s Austin booth takes place on a turbulent summer for the company. In July, Revel ceased operations in his hometown of New York after three drivers were killed in just 10 days, according to NBC New York. A driver’s license is required to rent a scooter, but not a motorcycle license or special training. And while helmets exist, Revel riders don’t have to wear them in cities with lax helmet laws like Austin.
Although they are no longer available in the capital, Revel scooters can still be rented in New York. Washington, DC; Miami; and the San Francisco Bay Area.