fbpx

(Unedited) Podcast Transcript 320: Mopeds to Go

February 10, 2021

This week we’re joined by Haley Rubinson, Vice President of Business Development at Revel.  We talk about why mopeds work for urban mobility, the dominance of automobiles in discussions about transportation, and if land use plays a part in adoption trends.

Below is a full unedited transcript of the episode.

Jeff Wood (1m 27s):
Well, Haley, Rubinson welcome to the talking head waves podcast. Great to be here. Well, thanks for coming on the show. We appreciate it before we get started. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Haley Rubinson (1m 39s):
Absolutely. So I am VP of business development at revel. I was actually the first headquarter employee hired by the company when we were still in pilot mode. When we were operating 68 mopeds out of a surf front in Bushwick, Brooklyn, I oversee regulatory public policy and communications work. So basically that’s working with cities to, or fleets. We’re not an ask for forgiveness to the company. We enter cities transparently and in lock step with the regulators, it’s also communicating with the communities we serve and the general public who we are and how we can add value to the cities we’re in overall. It’s really a dream job for me. Prior to revel, I worked at a company called tusk ventures, where I consulted with startups with regulatory issues.

Haley Rubinson (2m 22s):
But before that, my career was mostly in New York city and New York state government for again, transportation infrastructure, policy issues. But when I left tusk, I said, I wanted to find super early stage transportation startup based in New York with co-founders. They get the following things. First, when you run an urban transit network, whether government or private company, you have responsibility to all road users, not just your customers. That is not something that every company seems to get. And the second is working with regulators is not a necessary evil, nor is an it relationship inherently adversarial it’s symbiotic completely, particularly in transportation, cities and companies are fundamentally seeking to provide access.

Haley Rubinson (3m 5s):
So we all need each other. And so coincidentally, these two principles really were part of the founding ethos of revel, even before I got there by our co-founders. And it’s a good thing. It continues to be embedded in everything we do. So, you know, typical government affairs, external affairs jobs out there, particularly at private companies, you have a tendency to be siloed until there’s a problem or it’s about permit and PR with the awesome thing about working at rebel revel for me and my team is that we get to work across the company to help grow our product or operation our technology. It’s really very, very rewarding.

Jeff Wood (3m 41s):
And when did you get interested in transportation?

Haley Rubinson (3m 44s):
My first step was I was working in the Bloomberg administration. I thought I was going to pursue a career in social services, but alas, I got a great job at the department of transportation under the Bloomberg administration. The mayor really put a lot of importance in livability moveability public space. And so I joined dut in their intergovernmental affairs. There’s a lot of city council legislation. So basically it’s negotiating legislation, writing legislation, fighting legislation from the city council. But the great thing was that it exposed me to every aspect of the agency at a time where the DOJ was doing super, super innovative things.

Haley Rubinson (4m 30s):
I came in, I sort of got the lay of the land after my first about six months, Jeanette cytocon came in, who I’m sure you’re very familiar with and took the reigns. And so it was just a wonderful time to be in transportation. I mean, shutting time, square, down to traffic, like who would have ever thought and to this day it remains. And so it was just such an exciting time. It kind of reminds me of working at a startup now and I will never go back another, another

Jeff Wood (4m 59s):
Way. You’ll never go back to the city.

Haley Rubinson (5m 1s):
Oh, I’m sorry. I would never go back to social services. It kind of pains me not to be working for the city to be perfectly honest. I’ll be back one day. I’ll always say, but it was a great experience. And in addition to the like huge things, even just on a daily basis, you’re talking about things that are going to happen in the public realm. And then you see them in the public realm pretty quickly, which for government it’s very uncommon. Whereas like in social services it can be like climbing up a mountain. There’s a lot of other issues outside of your control. So transportation is became incredibly rewarding for me and made, I know city government doesn’t sound thrilling to most people, but my time was absolutely thrilling.

Haley Rubinson (5m 41s):
So

Jeff Wood (5m 42s):
I think a lot of people listen to this podcast might disagree with that.

Haley Rubinson (5m 45s):
Yeah, no, I know, I guess I guess talking to the right people.

Jeff Wood (5m 48s):
Exactly. You know, there’s certain aspects of it. I’m sure that are tough. But for the most part, I think people really like the public service of it. Were you always into transportation even when you were a kid? Was That something that you were interested in or just something you fell into?

Haley Rubinson (6m 1s):
It’s actually funny. I grew up in Brooklyn and for many years of my childhood did not realize how difficult it is to move around basically everywhere else. So I won’t say that, you know, I was a transportation wank out of the womb, but I have a driver’s license that my parents maybe get, I never really wanted one between subways buses, bikes and car services, even pre Uber and Lyft. There’s always a way to get around. And it was actually when I went to college that I realized how difficult it wasn’t, even though I have a driver’s license that is not my preference. I I’ve never had any intention of owning a car.

Haley Rubinson (6m 42s):
And it was crazy for me that most people actually felt the opposite way. So my interest in transportation started probably then in college. But really when I worked at DOD was it was a phenomenal experience. I consider myself a government person first, I believe in government. I love government local governments, the best transportation, you know, potentially I guess, depending on the administration is just probably the most exciting place to be in my mind in local government.

Jeff Wood (7m 12s):
And so now you’re at revel. How did rebel get started? What was the impetus for bringing mopeds to the city?

Haley Rubinson (7m 17s):
So our co-founders Frank Greig and Paul suey, or working together as colleagues kind of in the energy research space. Paul actually came from oil. He is a chemical engineer and Frank went on vacation to Buenos Aires, I believe, and saw all of these mopeds. And it was sort of at the time were shared fleets were coming to cities, not New York, but other cities and thought, you know, why not in New York, him and Paul started talking about it. And they were like, yeah, why not in New York? And so they are two very incredible, co-founders very passionate can really do anything.

Haley Rubinson (8m 1s):
And they just sort of put their heads together. And very, very quickly, I would say within, I think it was six months put together the funding to launch the pilot. They brought, I think, five people on board that handle customer service, operations, everything proof of concept was there. And then like less than six months after that raised some more money hired me. And we set off to plan on expanding in New York and then our other markets.

Jeff Wood (8m 31s):
And why mopeds? I mean, I, you just explained how he got the idea, but why mopeds, you know, it’s a different conveyance than maybe we’ve seen everywhere else.

Haley Rubinson (8m 39s):
Yeah. I think it, it has a lot to do with his travels. Mopeds are old man. Like it’s old technology, you know, it’s lightweight, it’s small, it’s low profile. It’s something that works in cities where there’s never anywhere in a park, you can park in between spaces and it’s really nothing new. It’s just sort of not been the culture in United States cities. So that was part of it. You know, why not? The other piece of this is battery technology. So shortly before revel was launched, there was just a tremendous improvement in electric vehicle, battery technology. We swappable batteries.

Haley Rubinson (9m 20s):
So if the company had started like a year prior to when it did, there would be some like clunky batteries that had to be plugged into a wall that would get maybe 20, 25 miles of range. The technology had advanced so rapidly that we’re now able to get, you know, three times that in range and we can swap the batteries in and out with our full-time employees and it is not clunky and you know, it’s pretty seamless. And so in truth, the timing was really perfect for that reason to actually operate a system like that in an efficient way.

Jeff Wood (9m 55s):
Yeah. I think the first thing that came to my mind was Audrey Hepburn. When I thought about mopeds and Gregory Peck and Roman holiday, what’s your pop culture, you know, connection to mopeds. Like what do you think of when you see it besides now you’re obviously at a company where you see them all the time, but what was your first kind of reaction, pop culture wise to moped?

Haley Rubinson (10m 13s):
It’s so funny. You should say this because my life is so revel that I cannot even think of the life before to be perfectly honest. I think of sort of like the Italian countryside, but actually, you know, having grown up in Brooklyn, I know some people that have grew up in suburbs where maybe you can get a license earlier to ride a moped, have more experience. I really had like no experience whatsoever with mopeds at all. And so I think because of Renville, obviously, but also in COVID I’ve noticed more of these two wheel vehicles. They’re probably closer to Vesper style mopeds than ours, but it’s funny for me to think about a world before, where I didn’t think about it much at all, to be honest.

Jeff Wood (10m 60s):
Another interesting thing about mopeds is that they’re kind of in this space between automobiles and micro mobility. So stand up scooters and shared bikes, all those types of transportation modes. I’m wondering from a regulatory standpoint, do you feel like you’re getting the best of both worlds or you do feel like you get the worst of both worlds?

Haley Rubinson (11m 19s):
I always say the best of both worlds, I think, yeah. We’re not a first last mile exclusively. There’s definitely a value in that. So I think we fit into the space nicely, but in the cities that we are in, if you’re really going to leave your car at home, right, or you’re really going to opt for more sustainable mode, maybe not buy a car at all, kind of need the full range option. And that is where you probably don’t want to take a kick scooter for miles. So I think we fit nicely. If you’re talking about in more of a regulatory perspective, we’re also very clearly defined in city and state statutes.

Haley Rubinson (12m 3s):
We’re also very easy to enforce against because we have license plates. So they’re actually in our conversations with law enforcements and all of the cities that we operate, it’s actually a lot easier for them to deal with a fleet of mopeds that park and ride in the streets, just like cars do. There’s a level of accountability. It’s also highly regulated. We have to get licensed plates for registrations insurance for every single one of our vehicles. In addition to that, everyone who rides our vehicles is covered by insurance. So that is a fundamental difference between us and then, you know, your fixed scooter or e-bike company, the ride itself is covered by insurance.

Haley Rubinson (12m 45s):
And so I think it works more seamlessly and transportation networks as they exist today with existing infrastructure, the way what people are used to today, then these other modes, not to say we shouldn’t be building out our cities to accommodate other modes, but I do think they have been fitting a little more seamlessly in the cities that we’re in.

Jeff Wood (13m 5s):
If there was one thing you would change though, what would it be from that standpoint of the regulations or even from like infrastructure or things that you would want say like the city of New York to do to make it more hospitable for mopeds?

Haley Rubinson (13m 18s):
I have to say the city is pretty hospitable to mopeds. I think it’s interesting actually working with the city, having come, you know, it was about 10 years ago when I worked at New York city duty. When, if you took away a parking space for, you know, a bike kiosk, it was just like bloody murder. And it’s really not like that anymore. I think there’s a lot more, a broader acceptance for modes and it’s just sort of conventional, it’s not a fringe movement or anything like that in respect to mopeds because we don’t require special infrastructure. I would say what I would like to see is, you know, ways to make the city more hospitable to other modes that are not 4,000 plus pound motor gas, guzzling, motor vehicles, trucks, and start replacing them with these lower footprint type goals of all types.

Haley Rubinson (14m 10s):
But as it stands, I would say the regulatory framework, the regulatory structure here, the streetscape is hospitable. It works for our business model even more. So I would say than for other cities,

Jeff Wood (14m 23s):
I feel like a lot of city officials have kind of a blind spot for cars. They let them get away with more kind of look the other way when it comes to safety collisions, things like that. I think we’ve seen that in New York and in other cities as well, they kind of give them a little bit more leeway. Do you feel like cars kind of get too much leeway when it comes to? I just feel like I’ve read a number of articles on, on revel and it felt like there was a lot of push to have them put you all in kind of a box with bikes, with cars and the blame. The victim mentality was very apparent in kind of some of the reading that I did.

Haley Rubinson (15m 1s):
I would agree, you know, it’s as a company that is providing a transportation service, like I said, in the beginning, you know, we have responsibility, we are accountable to provide, you know, a clean and efficient, safe service, which we do, but yeah, there’s human nature. Right? And so the one difference from what you’re saying that I, I would say is that it’s less about the regulators. And I would just say general public perception. We’ve all just accepted that you need cars, which I’m not even necessarily disagreeing with, but we’ve all accepted the dominance of the motor vehicle as we think of it. And that at this point it is what it is.

Haley Rubinson (15m 42s):
And we’re just all going to accept it. And it’s an inherent risk, you know, and we do have vision zero and we have a lot of stuff that regulators and advocates are doing to improve upon safety. But I think it’s really the general public who, you know, may not be paying as much attention. These new modes seem scary, but we’re in truth people at places like the department of transportation, within advocacy organizations who are much more sensitive to what’s happening on the streets on a daily basis and respect to traditional cars, trucks, they actually are sensitive to it. So that’s not always the case, our experience in New York city this summer.

Haley Rubinson (16m 21s):
And we are grateful for it. It was the case, the dut acknowledges for sure that we need to get division zero and they’re leading the way. And so I think concerns are obviously understandable coverage in the press. Some of the other things that you read, I think are a perception issue, but again, not taking accountability away from us as a company, but yeah, I think cars are the problem for sure, but we all have to do our part.

Jeff Wood (16m 50s):
You all are competing with ride hail bikes and transit for some of those shorter trips and cars too, to a certain extent because people like to drive their cars two feet. That’s an exaggeration obviously, but is there a limit to the market that’s available for the mopeds in cities? Because I noticed you all pulled out of Austin because of the market was limited because of the way that the land uses in that city.

Haley Rubinson (17m 12s):
Yeah. I mean, so movements are nothing new, but shared moped services in the U S is. And so we’ve learned a ton. Our experience in Austin really showed us car. Culture is real. If you own a car, potentially like more cars than there are people in a household, if there are parking spots, it’s a lot harder to get people out of their cars and onto more sustainable modes. It’s not insurmountable. I don’t think to be fair with COVID. It was sort of hard to figure that out. So there was a challenge, but I wouldn’t give up an OSS to get, and I wouldn’t give up on other either. I would just say it’s hard to sort of experiment and to figure out what is needed to get people out of their cars right now.

Haley Rubinson (17m 57s):
And so for Austin right now just was not the time to figure it out, but I do fall short of saying it’s impossible and it will never happen, but it’s hard enough, you know, to change sort of car culture attitudes in major cities, like even New York and San Francisco where, you know, you have are lower rates of car ownership. That’s even difficult, Austin and cities like that are somewhat tougher, but I am optimistic one of the bright spots after COVID could potentially be getting people out of their cars, but go figure that out after.

Jeff Wood (18m 31s):
Yeah. Covid been a really weird cat in that perspective. I noticed that some of the Austin discussion, you know, there’s no South by Southwest, there’s no major festivals, there’s no conventions or anything to bring people in, which is a lot of Austin is, is that so especially in the downtown area. So that’s kind of an interesting wrinkle on some of these services and you know, COVID generally overall, what’s the target audience for you all? Like who are the writers? What are the types of folks that would ride a moped instead of maybe taking their bike or walking or taking the bus?

Haley Rubinson (19m 2s):
So I would say our target is everybody who has a driver’s license and is 21 years of age over and is a responsible rider. But really like everybody should be committing the moped. Obviously we want only people who are comfortable doing so we offer lessons to get people comfortable and they’re very well attended. So we want everybody to ride. And although it’s a fun activity, especially in Covid where there’s not that much else to do, or you know, where it’s difficult to get from neighborhood to neighborhood by other modes, certainly, but even just commuting, it’s a really efficient way. I think people are really drawn to services like Uber and Lyft, because, you know, you get picked up and dropped off, right?

Haley Rubinson (19m 45s):
Where you need to go. The beauty of revel because of the low footprint parking is you can kind of do the same thing. So our target is everyone, but like anything else, there are certain people that are earlier to adopt and to try new things in New York, which is our biggest market. You know, aside from city, we don’t have other modes. So I think there has been a lot of interest actually through demographics, just because it’s a new option that didn’t exist. But you know, on the flip side, people have to get used to it. So we’re really aiming to get everybody in a moped. And I think we’re getting there. And I think we’re also seeing, particularly in the past year, signups are really through the roof.

Haley Rubinson (20m 28s):
People are interested. It may not be for you. The people want to try it. And so I think when the weather gets better and ideally we’re closer to the vaccine, allowing us to do more things outside of our homes, we’re going to see a lot of diversity in our ridership, a lot more than we even had before. But I have to say, when we expanded in New York over the summer, you know, every borough, every neighborhood sort of has its own different culture. And you know, it works well everywhere using New York city is just an example. You know, we went to the Bronx this summer and ridership was phenomenal. There’s so much interest again, cause it’s, it’s just so starved with transit options.

Haley Rubinson (21m 9s):
So I, I think there’s no shortage of people who will be interested. I think we’re only going to see more use cases, more types of people jumping on mopeds once we’re all out of our homes.

Jeff Wood (21m 23s):
So this summer you had a few folks pass away after writing the mopeds, getting collisions. And around July last year, you suspended a few thousand people from the program. What kinds of violations get people kicked out? And what kind of safety measures are being put in place now after those high profile incidents?

Haley Rubinson (21m 40s):
Sure. Reckless riding a hundred percent. And we all know what that is. It could be a range of things, running lights, you know, traveling in parks, things like that, the obvious things. And then, you know, helmet usage was a problem, not shying away from that at all. It was not a problem prior to COVID and then it was a problem and it was pretty apparent and it had to be addressed. We are processed with helmet. Compliance is a warning, a brief suspension, and then being removed from our platform. So people have that option. It also is the law. Whereas something like reckless riding, riding with a minor, which is actually illegal in New York city, but it is not allowed on our platform.

Haley Rubinson (22m 28s):
Those sorts of things will get you removed immediately from the platform permanently, whereas things you may not be aware of. So entering a park legitimately by accident, not traveling so far into the park will be a warning and a review of our rules this summer. Also, when we resume service at the end of August, we introduced a safety training, which it’s sort of an exam format, but it’s actually intended to be a learning experience. So there’s a series of questions. You have to answer them correctly twice. And it is a refresher on all of our rules. And so there’s more of an acknowledgement of what the rules of the road are, although it is, you know, incumbent on riders to understand the rules of the road, but we are seeing them a much higher rate of compliance for sure.

Haley Rubinson (23m 20s):
I mean, anybody who lives in New York right now can tell you that at the end of August, you were seeing almost everyone wearing helmets. There’s always going to be, you know, one or two people. Whereas in July you were seeing a lot of people traveling without helmets and that’s unraveled mopeds, but individually almost mopeds as well to improve helmet compliance. We also introduced a helmet selfie. And so when we got back on the road at the end of August, you take the training and then before every ride, you have to put your helmet on fascinat, take a picture of the thing gets processed. And if you are not wearing a helmet, if you take a picture of the floor or a cat, or you’re just not wearing a helmet, you will be warned the second time you’ll be suspended.

Haley Rubinson (24m 7s):
And, you know, with any new technology there’s glitches. So maybe certain people were not understanding, but everything has been clarified. And you know, we suspend almost nobody any more for not passing this helmet. Selfie,

Jeff Wood (24m 22s):
Can you have a cat on your helmet? And that’s

Haley Rubinson (24m 24s):
On you. As long as that helmet is fast. And I mean, they don’t want to support anything like that.

Jeff Wood (24m 30s):
I don’t think you are right. I’m asking a silly question. Is there a question that people ask you the most about the mopeds? Like if you get into a conversation with a friend and they find out that you work for rebel, what’s the first thing they ask about

Haley Rubinson (24m 43s):
What is the first thing? How do you charge them? Which is interesting, less than New York, but in other markets where there are kick scooters and you sort of have random people getting paid $5 to come with a van and pick a bunch of them up our model with the swappable battery, we have our full-time employees swapping them in and out doing light maintenance checks. But depending on ridership, you know, in the summer when ridership is so high mopeds get touched every day, right? So they’re not sort of like lying around for long periods of time. They’re kept in good condition. The batteries are swapped in and out right now with the winter where it’s cold and ridership’s down a little bit.

Haley Rubinson (25m 25s):
We still have our field techs out at the vehicle, swapping them. You know, I would say a couple of times a week and again, doing those light maintenance checks. So I think it’s how are they charged? And generally, how are they maintained is a question I do get a lot.

Jeff Wood (25m 40s):
Have you done any research on the reduction in CO2 emissions from the electric vehicle that you’re using to allow people to travel around?

Haley Rubinson (25m 47s):
Rebel has, I do not have an answer for you, but I can get it to you, but yes, this is something that we’re looking at. Yeah.

Jeff Wood (25m 55s):
I’m interested just because, you know, with the new administration, I think that climate is going to be put on the front burner, hopefully continuing on through many administrations going forward. But it’s just interesting to see this kind of shift towards the discussion about electric vehicles. And if you already have electric vehicles, especially making those short trips, what does that mean in terms of the reduction? And this is something that comes up on the podcast a fair amount of times is that, you know, we also have the issue of pollution and, you know, any vehicle is going to have some sort of pollution, whether that’s rubber tire to try this or brake dust, you know, those things are not going away just because of the vehicles electric, but it’s interesting to learn kind of what companies are thinking about when it comes to greenhouse gas reductions.

Haley Rubinson (26m 33s):
Yeah. So I’m probably the bad example because we are as a company thinking about this. But for me personally, from the beginning of being at revel, I think the most impactful thing about our service is local air quality. And particularly like, you know, when we entered the Bronx that have very high rates of childhood asthma and things like that, just air quality in neighborhoods in the moment that we started our pilot in Williamsburg and Bushwick, Brooklyn, and there’s just like a ton of truck traffic running through, obviously we’re not preventing the truck traffic specifically, but it really highlighted for me the value in EVs when it comes to local air quality.

Haley Rubinson (27m 16s):
And so that’s something that like in addition to obviously the carbon emission piece of this I think is super important and why all of these forms of micro mobility that are not gas powered or desirable for direct health reasons, especially in lower income communities that suffer disproportionately

Jeff Wood (27m 35s):
In Vietnam. They’ve actually tried to curtail mopeds and scooters because there are so many of them in the city. And I’m wondering if we’ll ever get to a point in cities in the United States, that that is the case.

Haley Rubinson (27m 49s):
I think we will. Yeah. I think there seems to me that there has to be a sort of balance back in cities. You know, there’s just like an influx of all of these votes. I am, to be honest, always surprised when a new company with the same product offering, you know, pops up in a city, but they are, but I think it will level out and I, you know, demand and supply will start to make sense that will happen on its own. If not, as directed by the cities themselves,

Jeff Wood (28m 18s):
Success for you all, like what does that mean specifically?

Haley Rubinson (28m 21s):
Our tagline is we move people. So success is giving the people in the cities and communities. We serve a viable transportation option for people who want it. So success is not every person with a driver’s license, who is when you went, are over riding a moped, but it’s that everybody has access to that it’s providing greater access. So, you know, docked bike services, do we 11 years to come to the Bronx, a huge success for us internally was expanding our service from Brooklyn and Queens to the Bronx. You know, that is typically the last serve within like a couple of years of our first launch, right.

Haley Rubinson (29m 2s):
Of 68 mopeds and that’s success. I think having a presence in cities that allow people to either make the choice, not to purchase their own personal use vehicle or people who cannot afford to purchase a vehicle hold insurance, to provide a mode of access for those people. And so that’s, you’re talking in relationship to safety, but the whole car culture question, right? A lot of it is, you know, who can afford to get into traffic accidents like who’s allowed to drive. And I think with shared fleets that are actually viable modes of transportation for that full mile trip, allowing more peoples have access to that.

Haley Rubinson (29m 44s):
H’s, can’t be a bad thing, right? And I don’t think only people who can afford or choose to own a personal vehicle deserve to travel in one any less than anybody else. And so success for us is just providing access, particularly to people who do not have access. But, you know, generally speaking, it’s just another viable transportation option in cities

Jeff Wood (30m 9s):
That brings up an important equity considerations. Are there neighborhoods in the city that are targets for you all that maybe didn’t get serviced at the start that maybe you should get serviced because they have lower incomes or they’re, you know, certain communities of color that typically are underserved by new technologies and new transportation access modes.

Haley Rubinson (30m 29s):
Absolutely. So the way revel makes sense is for there to be a contiguous service area. So you can actually ride the moped outside the service area. I mean, you can pause it and use it, but it has to be parked in the re-evals zone. And that’s for operational reasons, you know, we need to keep them operational. We can’t have open sitting around, you know, where the battery’s discharged. So we sort of have to expand out from where we are an exception to that is this past year, we did expand in Brooklyn and Queens, but we decided to focus on the Bronx specifically. So the Bronx and Manhattan are sort of its own network. It is legal to cross some of the East river bridge crossings, but you know, people speed on those crossings.

Haley Rubinson (31m 14s):
We really don’t want our riders with other vehicles it’s legal, but you know, it’s not the most comfortable feeling. So there’s sort of like two networks. And so in order to get to communities most in need of these options, we were very happy to do that in the Bronx, in Brooklyn and Queens, you know, we’ve continued to expand out. I mean, we’d like to serve everywhere. There’s a variation of, of demand, of course, but we do serve a number of lower income communities now. And we do plan to expand out from there to serve more communities quickly. Our general principle is our revenue needs to be in a reasonable walking distance. If you’re really going to come to rely on it, you don’t want to be 20 blocks away from the nearest revel because that’s not, it’s not really a viable option for you.

Haley Rubinson (32m 1s):
So we aim for a fleet sizes to be, you know, like a two, three block walk max, it’s a little bit longer in New York because people walk more in a York, but even in our other markets is actually slightly smaller because they’re not walking cities necessarily the slow and steady approach for expansion for us is important. We want a quality service that people can rely on and can use. And so, as opposed to just sort of peppering the, in a huge area, we want to serve an area we can serve well and then grow out from there, which is what we’re doing. So what’s next for you all? What is next a lot? So we are continuing on building out our fleets or the cities that we’re in continuing to find more use cases and partnerships.

Haley Rubinson (32m 48s):
We are talking to other cities. Again, our model is to be in lockstep with the cities. We do not surprise cities. We don’t show up one day, we work with cities to launch and we’re thinking about other product lines, more on that to come. But generally speaking, you know, our commitment to serve the cities that we’re in to provide like viable, clean transportation options, you know, to create the foundation that people can actually live in cities and not rely a hundred percent on a personal one vehicle, you know, that’s sort of driving us and there’s a bunch of different ways to do that. And more to come on that a little bit later this year,

Jeff Wood (33m 31s):
And you all are offering free rides to vaccination centers as well.

Haley Rubinson (33m 34s):
Yes. So any of your listeners who work at vaccination center in any of our service areas are eligible for free rides. We just announced this yesterday. We, I think within a few hours had hundreds of people signed up, which is awesome. And last year we did this for all healthcare workers when we were in the height of quarantine and cities were really in lockdown and anybody kind of moving around or essential, right. They really needed to get somewhere for healthcare workers. We offered a free ride program. It’s also why we expanded our service at that time to serve more hospital centers. It was successful, you know, so we’re doing this now again for workers at vaccine sites.

Jeff Wood (34m 17s):
Finally, another thing that I was kind of impressed with reading some of your CEO Frank’s comments about specifically gig workers and prop 22 here in California, I’ve made it pretty clear on the podcast that I was not a fan of prop 22. And he’s clearly said that it’s not really fair and that all of Rebel’s employees are W2 employees. I was impressed that he came out and made that stand. Cause I feel like there’s a lot of discussion about, you know, the gig economy, especially here in California, especially here in San Francisco. And I just wanted to acknowledge that fact.

Haley Rubinson (34m 46s):
Absolutely. We don’t do gig the company in addition to, you know, working with cities and communities and other founding principle was no gig economy. We don’t need it first. It’s good for business. And that’s really the truth. Obviously, you know, workers that are exploited, it’s just a bad thing. Right. But I think it’s important that companies start to actually look at the bigger picture, which is that, you know, full-time employees, employees with access to benefits. That’s good for everybody. Our employees are why our fleet runs well, it’s, well-maintained, it’s good for business, right? And it’s also good as a company to have co-workers right and not expendable resources.

Haley Rubinson (35m 32s):
And so, you know, you can devote money to sort of fighting that principle or you can, you know, provide full-time jobs with benefits to people. And that’s what we’ve chosen to do. And we’re not a charity, we’re a company it’s good for us. I’ll only speak for myself, but I’m not so bought into why it’s so great for other companies because our experience is really the opposite. We don’t do good. We never will, regardless of how we grow. And we do feel very strongly about that.

Jeff Wood (36m 3s):
Where can folks find information about revel or more about you?

Haley Rubinson (36m 6s):
They can go to go revel.com and go revel on Twitter.

Jeff Wood (36m 11s):
Well, Haley, thanks for joining us. We really appreciate it.


Listen to the Talking Headways Podcast

Testimonials

…the first thing I read every morning is the newsletter to see what’s been out there. It’s great to have an aggregator that pulls everything together so nicely.

Joe Cortright, City Observatory


I think that the email newsletter that you do every morning is the best one that I get, and I get a lot of them.

Mary Newsom, The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute


Really is the best daily urban newsletter out there.

Eric Jaffe, Editorial Director Sidewalk Labs

Subscribe

To Receive The Overhead Wire in Your Inbox Daily

Premium Daily Subscription

The Premium Daily Subscription is our most information packed offering, chock full of over 30 pieces of news every single day. Included are popular features such as the quote of the day and the most read article from the previous day. Also included is our weekly roundup for times when you are strapped for time but need to know what’s going on.

Premium Weekly Subscription

The Premium Weekly Subscription is for professionals constantly under a time crunch. We take the most read items from the week before and share them with subscribers along with more in depth analysis of a single popular topic.

Learn More and Subscribe

Top Links

of the past 48 hours

Video of the Day

Friends of The Overhead Wire

Back To Top

Welcome to The Overhead Wire

What Can We Help You Find?

Try Our Newsletter For Free