After removing service from the borough more than a year ago, Revel has returned its electric mopeds to part of the Bronx, the Bronx Times has learned.
The company pulled its mopeds from the borough in December 2021, blaming a “significant spike in thefts,” which was first reported by the Bronx Times. A source familiar with the matter said that the batteries were a particular target.
“We’re undergoing our annual process of expanding the moped service area for the warmer months, when ridership naturally increases,” Revel spokesperson Robert Familiar told the Bronx Times on Tuesday. “As part of that process, we wanted to start making mopeds available again for Bronx residents with a smaller initial service area.”
Familiar did not comment on what the company has done to deal with the issue of thefts.
The newly introduced Bronx service area is restricted to the west side of the borough. The new zone, which includes the Highbridge, Morris Heights and University Heights sections, starts just north of the Macombs Dam Bridge at Ogden Avenue and goes up to West Fordham Road.
Riders can drive the mopeds outside of the designated service area and temporarily park it elsewhere (in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan) by “pausing” their trip, but they must start and end their ride within its perimeter. Riders either pay per minute or purchase 30-minute, 60-minute or 12-hour plans, and the clock doesn’t stop when the trip is paused, meaning riders keep paying for the device until returning it to an official service area.
During the Bronx suspension, riders were similarly able to travel into the Bronx from Manhattan but had to end their ride outside of the borough in the designated areas in Manhattan, Queens or Brooklyn.
Since the mopeds — which cap out at 30 mph — aren’t allowed on highways or major bridges, there is no way to cross into Queens from the Bronx on the devices. There are, however, several connectors to Manhattan.
If riders using a timed plan don’t return the electric devices to the proper area in time, they are billed per minute until doing so, Familiar confirmed.
Another caveat: the 12-hour pass is limited to 40 miles, so if a rider hits 40 miles before the 12-hour mark, they will similarly be charged by the minute. If someone never returns the device to the proper zone, they’re charged a $150 fee.
The company first introduced its mopeds to the Bronx in April 2020, launching in the South Bronx in Highbridge, Morrisania, Melrose, Mott Haven and Hunts Point, though at one point Melrose was removed from the service area. In June 2020, the company expanded north to Fordham Road, including several more neighborhoods like West Farms, Belmont and Fordham Heights.
A 30-minute pass costs $12.49, a one hour pass costs $19.99 and a 12-hour pass costs $38.99. To pay as you go, riders are charged $0.49 per minute, along with a $1 unlock fee and $1 insurance coverage fee.
The company offers 50% discounts to people who receive assistance from the local, state or federal government — such as public housing or food stamps — and members of the military and veterans are eligible for 40% off.
Micromobility options aren’t consistent across the Bronx. Citi Bike is concentrated in the western portions of the borough, while the city’s e-scooter program is contained to the East Bronx. Some neighborhoods, like Norwood, City Island and Riverdale, have neither.
East Bronxites George Torres and Luke Szabados both expressed a desire for the moped pick-up and drop-off area to expand boroughwide.
Torres, a Co-op City resident and the district manager for Community Board 12, told the Bronx Times that the geographical constraints create a “missed opportunity.”
He also had logistical concerns.
It would be an issue, for example, if someone who lives in Highbridge rides a moped to a party in Co-op City and either doesn’t want to leave or becomes intoxicated, he said. Plus, it can be frustrating for people who see an unused moped on the street and learn that they can’t rent it themselves, he added.
“Booking it for a 12-hour period, it’s almost like renting a car,” Torres said. “But with a car, you get 24 hours.”
Szabados, who sits on the CB12 Transportation and Capital Projects Committee and works in the Northwest Bronx, said that Bronxites across the borough are looking for alternative modes of transportation, and the more options, the better.
“The more the merrier when it comes to ways in which we can reduce our dependency on cars for all types of trips,” he said.
Reach Aliya Schneider at [email protected] or (718) 260-4597. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes