News & Politics

10 Things to Know About the Rentable Mopeds Coming to DC

Yes, you have to wear a helmet. No, you can't take them on the freeway.

400 electric mopeds are coming to DC this weekend. Photo courtesy of Revel.

First piloted in Brooklyn and Queens, New York, 400 Revel electric mopeds will make their debut in the District this weekend. Similar to the electric scooters that are now everywhere, the vehicles are rentable through an app, and cost an initial $1 per ride plus $0.25 per minute while driving, or $0.10 per minute while parked. We spoke with Paul Suhey, COO and cofounder of Revel, about the top things for new Revel users to know. 

You have to be a licensed driver to use Revel. 

Every new user must undergo a background check on the app. Suhey says it typically takes 10 minutes to ensure that drivers have a safe record. If anything requires a manual review, the check could take up to 24 hours. 

You have to be at least 21, too. 

Underage college students and high schoolers can stick to the scooters. Like many car rental companies, Revel requires its drivers to be 21 or older. 

The mopeds will initially be equally spread among all eight wards. 

Revel is launching in DC with 400 mopeds, and rather than target a specific area of the city—near the Mall, for example—Revel will place an equal number of mopeds in each ward. 

Like the popular electric scooters, New York’s Revel riders use them for everything. 

“It’s such a versatile vehicle,” Suhey says about mopeds. Based on a recent survey conducted by the company, there’s a nearly even distribution in the variety of reasons drivers use the vehicles, including for commuting, running errands, and just for fun. 

You can take them out of the city—but not on the freeway.

Although the mopeds are only allowed on local roads (no highways, considering they only go up to 30 miles per hour), users can drive outside of DC. However, “You have to come back into the District to end your ride,” Suhey says. This means that any time parked outside of DC, where you can’t finish the trip, will cost you. 

Riders eligible for or participating in government assistance programs receive a discount.

If you qualify for or use local or federal assistance programs, you will receive a 40 percent discount on your ride and won’t pay the registration fee. 

Each vehicle can fit two riders.

Say goodbye to awkwardly squeezing onto an electric scooter. Revel’s mopeds are designed to seat up to two riders. 

They come with a helmet. 

Yes, you have to wear it. Revel gives users a free “safety minute” to put on the helmet, adjust their mirrors and get on the moped. “Safety is by far the most important thing to this company,” Suhey says. “We take the responsibility we have really seriously.”

The company will offer free driving lessons. 

If you don’t feel confident in your ability to captain a moped, Revel will offer free driving lessons seven times per week around the city. Suhey himself will be teaching lessons this weekend. 

The mopeds must be parked on the street. 

Similar to a motorcycle, the mopeds should be parked perpendicular to the curb on the street. They’re not bikes—so don’t park them on the sidewalk. Also, don’t abandon them in national parks or on bridges—a Revel parking patrol will be on the lookout for incorrectly parked mopeds. “The service has a lot of accountability with it,” Suhey says. 

Katrina Schmidt
Editorial Fellow

Katrina Schmidt joined Washingtonian as an editorial fellow in 2018. She is from Baltimore, Maryland, and currently lives in Burleith.