Fleet of 50 Tesla taxis closed in New York for summary reasons
Revel’s planned fleet of 50 Tesla Model Y taxis in New York City has been shut down by the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), and the reasons they’ve given are sketchy to say the least.
Earlier this year, we reported on Revel, a mobility startup best known for its ride-sharing fleets of electric scooters, launching an effort to bring a fleet of Tesla Model Y taxis to New York City.
The effort was particularly intriguing as Revel modified the Model Y to make it a perfect taxi vehicle.
They added a screen to the Model Y’s back seat and also removed the front passenger seat to create more legroom.
The result is a very interesting zero emission taxi experience:
But now the plan has been stopped by the TLC.
It’s difficult to get a driver and taxi license in New York City, but Revel used an electric vehicle exemption to speed up the adoption of electric vehicles in the city.
However, shortly after Revel launched its Tesla fleet initiative, TLC announced that they were ending the exemption.
TLC Chairman Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk said (via Market surveillance):
It is not viable to allow an unlimited number of new vehicles to circulate in a city too familiar with suffocating traffic jams. What we will not allow is the opportunity for another company – venture capitalist or otherwise – to flood our streets with more cars.
The concern seems to be that this would add too many vehicles to the road and contribute to traffic problems in the city.
Instead, the commission suggests that Revel buy licenses for gasoline taxis:
The TLC argued that Revel can still operate if it buys 50 gasoline-powered cars and trades their licenses for electric vehicles – a requirement Revel called “the very definition of limiting competition in the market.”
But that’s exactly what made the prices of these permits soar and made it difficult for electric vehicles to become taxis in the city.
Revel CEO Frank Reig didn’t mince words when he spoke to TLC about this:
“We are delivering exactly what this commission has been asking for for years: fair treatment and stable pay for drivers – all of whom are W-2 employees with benefits – and a plan to drive the adoption of electric vehicles in the city. city. The commissioners witnessed nearly three hours of testimony from all sides, but asked no questions and spent no time deliberating before making a political decision with far-reaching consequences, ”Reig said in a statement. “The TLC never intended to heed what drivers and New Yorkers had to say, and was only concerned with scrambling that vote on primary day with as little scrutiny as possible.”
The TLC voted 5 to 1 to stop the plan and Bill Aguado, an artist and activist who represents the Bronx, was the only one to support the deployment of electric vehicles.
Reig told local media that the company still plans to “go out onto the streets” with its electric vehicles and that they believe the law is on their side.
Obviously the commission doesn’t care about the traffic like they said. They cared about their power which lies in the scarcity of these licenses, which makes them valuable and difficult to obtain.
Revel’s fleet was a threat for that. That’s it.
They will find any reason, however weak, to protect their power. For ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft, they have circumvented the law by not using full-time employees with benefits. And now that Revel has come up with a solution, they’ve found another reason.
New Yorkers should be angry about this. If I were you, New Yorker, I would contact all these brilliant commissioners, except Bill Aguado, and let them know that they are not fooling anyone.
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