Introducing: Women+ Connect
Uber (UBER) and Lyft (LYFT) launched roughly a decade ago, turning the idea of getting in a stranger’s car from a societal taboo into a common occurrence. But, for many, the idea of driving with or picking up strangers is still anxiety-inducing.
To address these concerns, Lyft is launching Women+ Connect, a new safety feature that will help matching women and non-binary customers and drivers. The new product aims to provide users peace of mind and a safe, comfortable ride.
Striving For Safety
Ridesharing apps face pressure from both users and investors to increase safety protections. Both Uber and Lyft have already introduced safeguards to help riders identify the correct driver and vehicle. But there are fewer protections in place once you’re actually in the car.
In 2021, Lyft reported more than 4,000 claims of sexual assault between 2017 and 2019. The actual figure could be even higher due to unreported incidents.
Lyft is hoping matching riders with similar-gendered drivers will help to mitigate instances of sexual harassment and assault.
Lyft’s New Feature Launch
Initially, Lyft is launching Women+ Connect in Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, and Phoenix. These cities were chosen due to their favorable ratios of women drivers to women riders, plus gender information is available on driver’s licenses in those locations.
Although women hail 50% of the app’s rides, women currently represent just 23% of Lyft drivers. According to CEO David Risher, this disparity is likely due to a hesitancy among women to drive shifts late at night. With Women+ Connect, Lyft hopes to put women in the driver’s seat and shift safety into high gear for everyone involved.
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