It’s fair to say that e-scooter companies, like the rest of us, weren’t expecting what we got when we rang in January 1, 2020. At that time, the Revel e-scooter company had only been in Austin, Texas, for a few months. As of December, 2020, Revel announced that it’s ready to leave the Texas capital for good.
The reason? Apparently, Austin residents love their cars too much to want to ride e-scooters. At least, that’s what Revel CEO and co-founder Frank Reig said in his official statement. That and the ongoing global pandemic, Reig said, worked hand-in-hand to convince Revel to rethink its position within the city.
“When Revel came to Austin, we knew there would be challenges. In addition to having a less dense urban core than our other markets, the city’s deep-rooted car culture has proven difficult to penetrate, especially during COVID. While I’m grateful that Revel was able to help reduce local traffic congestion and commuting times, we will be ending our Austin service on December 18th. Thank you to our Austin riders for welcoming us and to the Austin Transportation Department for its partnership over the past year,” Reig wrote in a statement on Twitter.
In fact, a quick peek at the official Revel website shows that Austin is already no longer listed among the cities that Revel currently serves. All regions currently listed as of December 8, 2020 include: Miami, New York, Oakland/Berkeley, San Francisco, and Washington DC.
Of the nearly 5,200 shared mobility devices located in Austin at the beginning of December, only 465 of those belong to Revel, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Overall usage of such shared devices has decreased since the pandemic took hold. The combined number of shared mobility devices in the city just keeps getting smaller, too.
Revel wasn’t the first e-scooter company to leave the area, and it probably won’t be the last. Way back in November, 2019, there were just over 13,000 e-mobility devices on city streets. By November, 2020, that number had decreased to just under 8,500. As you can see, the numbers continue to shrink. Although some users have expressed sadness that Revel is leaving Austin, it’s unclear if this will ultimately be good for those e-scooter companies that remain.