Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

Citibike, Revel Shut Down in Coordination With New York City Curfew

Illustration for article titled Citibike, Revel Shut Down in Coordination With New York City Curfew
Photo: Getty

Joining Minneapolis, Louisville, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and the nation’s capitol, New York City instituted a curfew last night meant to curb ongoing protests against lynchings of black and brown Americans by police. For reasons unknown, and at Mayor de Blasio’s behest, this curfew also included service stoppages for app-booked mobility options like Citibike and Revel scooters.

Advertisement

The hastily implemented curfew was announced by Governor Cuomo around 4pm yesterday, and sent as a city-wide emergency text alert just before 8:30pm. These announcements did not include notice of reduced mobility options for New Yorkers who might potentially be trying to get home from graveyard or overnight shifts at essential jobs. Revel or Citibike do not appear to have sent push notifications to customers with their respective apps installed either.

Advertisement

Announcements by these companies were sent out via Twitter well after the city-wide text alert. In Citibike’s case, its tweet was sent less than half an hour before the curfew was set to come into effect.

“Once we learned of the curfew order, we began discussions with DOT [Department of Transportation] about how it applied with Revel. A little before 9 PM, DOT asked us to end operations for the evening. As a partner of DOT and all the cities we serve, we agreed to take that step,” a Revel spokesperson told Gizmodo. “Regrettably, we were unable to give our riders the advance notice they need; and moving forward, we will aim to do so to the best of our ability.”

Citibike later clarified what happened in a series of tweets which clarified that future curfews would also result in service interruptions. “We disagree with this decision and believe it is important for the system to remain open and provide a reliable transportation option,” the company wrote.

Advertisement

What’s most confusing though is why these services were directed to close at all. The MTA continues to operate bus service, as well as subway service until 1am. Private cars were not banned from use on roadways within the city either. And although ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft (which operates Citibike) have halted service in other cities in coordination with local curfews, both were working normally between 11pm and 5am last night.

Advertisement

“Our teams on the ground are working closely with each individual city to best support them based on their needs and the local situation. Some cities have requested that we suspend operations during curfew hours while others want to ensure Uber is available for essential services,” an Uber spokesperson wrote to Gizmodo. Uber was in contact with city officials and continued to operate last night based on their guidance, this spokesperson said. We’ve reached out to the Mayor’s office to clear up this discrepancy but have yet to receive a reply.

The curfew—and a doubling of the police force from the previous night to an estimated 8,000 officers—did little to discourage protesters, with large groups demonstrating in the Bronx, Midtown, Williamsburg, Crown Heights, Bed-Stuy, and elsewhere. Police across the country have been met with harsh criticism not only for the disparity in treatment towards black and brown people most recently exemplified by the killing of Minneapolis resident George Floyd, but by their use of force against protesters and press.

Advertisement

One restaurant owner, David McAtee, was shot by police in Louisville, Kentucky who had turned off their body cameras. Photojournalist Linda Tirado was permanently blinded by a rubber bullet fired by police, while several reporters, identifying themselves as such, were pepper-sprayed. Viral footage of NYPD officers beating protesters with billy clubs or ramming them with vehicles have continued to enflame tensions locally. Law enforcement’s widespread use of tear gas that targets the respiratory system while we’re in the midst of a pandemic has been widely condemned.

In the scheme of things, bikes and scooters are the least of our problems right now—but it’s nonetheless horrifying that entire modes of transportation can be shut down at the snap of a finger, especially ones that are cheap and fill the needs of New Yorkers who can’t afford an Uber or traditional cab.

Advertisement

Before it even took place, Mayor de Blasio announced last night that he would enact a curfews starting at 8pm on Tuesday and extending through the rest of the week. Revel and Citibike will continue to halt operations, and ridesharing companies have been mandated to cease as well. “We were just told that Mayor de Blasio and NYPD are mandating that rideshare companies stop operating tonight, from 8 PM - 12:30 AM,” a Lyft spokesperson told Gizmodo.We know this is difficult for those who rely on Lyft, especially essential workers and those needing to get home. We are working hard to reach an agreement that best supports New Yorkers.”

Updated with a statement from Revel, Lyft, and information on the curfew extension.

Advertisement

Looking for ways to advocate for black lives? Check out this list of resources by our sister site Lifehacker for ways to get involved.

Senior reporter. Tech + labor /// bgmwrites@gmail.com Keybase: keybase.io/bryangm Securedrop: http://gmg7jl25ony5g7ws.onion/

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

dickcreme
bottle_of_richard_cream

I’ll point out again, imposing curfew is a provocation and escalation. It gives the very police whose abuse of authority is the reason for the protests, an excuse to arbitrarily abuse otherwise peaceful protesters. Any official imposing one is deliberately choosing to take the side of the police and to suppress protests, point blank.

Also, somewhat off topic PSA. Over the coming months, people who have been arrested are going to start going to trial, and you or someone you know may end up being on a jury, meaning it’s a good time to remind you of the extraordinary powers you have as a juror, that no one will tell you about over the course of the trial, is “jury nullification,” i.e. the power to vote to acquit someone, even if you think they committed acts that meet the elements of the crime they are charged of, simply because you think the crime they are charged with is unfair, or the prosecution is otherwise unjust. There is nothing anyone can do about nullification if you decide to do it. If your nullification results in an acquittal, that is it. Your actions are beyond review and the acquittal cannot be overturned. If your nullification results in a hung jury and a mistrial, the defendant can always be tried again, but may not be. In any event, remember as a juror, as your conscience dictates you can always throw a wrench in the gears of the criminal justice system machine if you think it is being used to obtain an unjust result.