New York taxi regulators have snubbed a startup’s bid to launch an all-Tesla taxi fleet in the city — and you can count Elon Musk among those who are baffled.
“??,” Tesla’s billionaire boss tweeted Wednesday morning in response to an article that summarized The Post’s reporting on a Tuesday vote by the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission to block the Tesla taxi proposal.
The New York-based startup Revel — famous for its blue scooters which drew controversy last year over a slew of rider injuries as well as a trio of fatal accidents — has proposed a ride-share service using 50 Tesla Model Y taxis manned by full-time drivers.
But citing concerns about traffic congestion, the TLC voted to stop issuing new for-hire licenses for electric vehicles — saying that Revel could launch its Tesla fleet only if it first purchased licensed gas-guzzling cars and trasferred their licenses to the Teslas.
The ruling was roundly blasted by Musk’s fans on Twitter.
“So if a vegan restaurant chain wanted to operate in NY, they need to first open up a bunch of steakhouses to be considered legitimate?” wrote one user.
“Stupid move to turn down such a smart idea,” wrote another user. “NY contributes a lot towards pollution with all the transportation around, EV taxis are the way to go.”
“Hard to believe the taxi industry is struggling seeing how progressive they clearly are,” wrote a third user.
Tesla, Revel, and spokespeople for the TLC did not immediately reply to requests for comment. On Tuesday, Revel slammed the ruling as “the very definition of limiting market competition.”
TLC Commissioner Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk has said that the rule change was not directed at Revel or electric vehicles in particular and pointed to concerns about congestion.
“It is not sustainable to allow an unlimited number of new vehicles to the road in a city that is all too familiar with the choke of traffic congestion,” Heredia Jarmoszuk said ahead of the vote at Tuesday’s meeting. “What we will not allow is the opportunity for another corporation — venture capitalists or otherwise — to flood our streets with additional cars.”
Revel accused the TLC of singling out the company after the agency on Monday posted a document on its website saying the commissioners had already voted to stop issuing new licenses for electric vehicles — a full day before the actual vote was set to take place.