Citi Bike, Revel shutdown credited with helping quell riots in New York City

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, June 4, 2020
Citi Bike, Revel shutdown credited with helping quell riots
Kemberly Richardson reports on how limiting access to scooters may have help stop violence

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A relatively peaceful night of protests in New York City Tuesday was in part credited to the shutdown of Citi Bike and Revel motorized scooters, which city officials said looters were using to get ahead of protests, bring supplies in for vandalism, and scout out police movements.

"They use them as scouts to see where we are," NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan said. "They cause some diversions, set a fire somewhere. You go to that, another group will got to another direction. If we cover one area heavy, they are looping around to see where we are, where they are, where we can make a quick strike."

After suspects were spotted on a nightly basis zipping around on the electric scooters, city officials asked the company to deactivate them during the curfew periods

Citi Bike was asked to do the same thing, after vandals were similarly observed using their service.

But because the first night of curfew did not start until 11 p.m., the suspects were able rent the scooters before the curfew started and continue to ride them.

Both Revel and Citi Bike deactivated their services before Tuesday's 8 p.m. curfew, at the city's request.

Revel shut down at 6 p.m. and Citi Bike appeared to deactivate service in Midtown before that, though bikes could still be returned.

Both Citi Bike and Revel tweeted statements.

Citi Bike: As directed by @NYCMayorsOffice, we are temporarily shutting down service tonight, restarting as soon as curfew is lifted at 5am. We know NYC is hurting right now. We're still discussing options for providing service during curfew hours and will share more when we can.

Revel: UPDATE: @NYCMayorsOffice has directed us to shut down our NYC service at 6 PM instead of 8 PM, starting tonight. We will keep you posted if this changes after tonight.

Marco Conner DiAquoi is with Transportation Alternatives and believes the mayor made a mistake, because these means of transportation are effective, efficient ways for people to get around the city. He maintains the overnight shutdown hurts those who need the bikes and scooters most.

"I think this is an utterly terrible policy decision by the mayor," he said. "These were essential workers, health care workers, who were left stranded. Citi Bikes are used by front line workers to get home at night. They were left stranded."

Many were also taking issue with the lack of notice, just 30 minutes on Monday night. Nick Bedell represents Citi Bike employees.

"We believe Citi Bike is public transit, and it's part of the public transit system," he said. "It gives people another option that in a pandemic is particularly viable."

Critics also point out that the bikes and scooters help peaceful protesters move around the city, something Revel commends. For now, both companies say they will continue with the temporary suspend of service overnight.

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