This past Tuesday, the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission voted to block new rideshare startup, Revel, from operating by stopping any ability to issue for-hire licenses for electric vehicles. This five to one vote directly impacted Revel who was planning to launch a fleet of 50 Model Y Tesla taxis in NYC.
Frank Reig, Revel CEO, spoke at the meeting stating that Revel not only wanted to provide an environmentally friendly rideshare option but also offered drivers better treatment, specifically hiring drivers as full-time employees, than competitors Uber and Lyft. “We’re offering exactly what this commission has been asking for for years: fair treatment and stable pay for drivers — who are all W-2 employees with benefits — and a plan to drive EV adoption in the city,” Reig said.
However, the TLC argued that “It is not sustainable to allow an unlimited number of new vehicles to the road in a city that is all too familiar with the choke of traffic congestion. We will not allow the opportunity for another corporation — venture capitalists or otherwise — to flood our streets with additional cars.”
Revel so far has raised $31.6 million from backers such as Toyota. When asked, after the ruling, if Revel would ignore the TLC’s decision and launch its ride-share service anyway, Reig said “the company will hit the streets.” This wouldn’t be the first time a rideshare company has ignored a ruling and operated anyways!