Lyft Enhances Safety for Women and Nonbinary Individuals with Women+ Connect Feature
In an incredible step forward in the fight for equal representation and safety on the roads for women and nonbinary passengers, Lyft has launched a new initiative that is set to make a lasting impact. Through this program, they are going to work hard to match women and nonbinary riders with drivers of the same gender more frequently than normal — up to 40% or more. By increasing visibility for these travelers, as well as creating a series of safe ride options available only through this matching system, Lyft is aiming to reduce incidents of discomfort and harassment while consistently providing safer journeys. In-app safety functions such as WithHR will be implemented too, allowing friends and family members back home to keep track of your journey in real time. Read on today find out exactly how it all works!
The feature, called Women+ Connect, allows women and nonbinary drivers to have the option to match more frequently with women and nonbinary riders. This is a voluntary feature based on personal preferences. In the event that a driver has activated Women+ Connect but there are no women or nonbinary riders nearby, they will still be matched with a male rider, and vice versa.
Initially, Women+ Connect will be available in select cities such as Chicago, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose. However, Lyft plans to expand the feature to more cities in the near future. Women and nonbinary riders and drivers in these areas will receive a prompt to opt-in for Women+ Connect, increasing the chances of being matched with someone of the same gender identity.
Enhancing safety is a key focus of Lyft’s efforts with this initiative. The company also hopes to attract more women and nonbinary individuals to join as drivers. A recent survey showed that while almost half of Lyft riders are women, only 23 percent of drivers on the platform are women. Jody Kelman, Lyft’s executive vice president of customers, acknowledged the challenges faced by women drivers, particularly when driving at night, and emphasized the need to address these barriers.
Ridesharing platforms like Lyft and Uber have been working on implementing additional safety features in response to reports of sexual assaults and other violent incidents. These efforts include improved contact options for support and emergency services, real-time location sharing, and even audio recording during rides. Lyft consulted with experts from organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign and the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives to develop and enhance the Women+ Connect feature.
It is important to note that Lyft makes it easy for riders and drivers to update their gender identity within the app. While preferred pronouns are visible, Lyft does not display gender identities. Access to Women+ Connect is determined by the gender users identify with in the Lyft app. By default, a driver’s gender identity is based on their licensed gender, while riders always self-identify their gender. However, users can change their gender identity within the app as needed. Lyft acknowledges the challenge of balancing accurate gender expression for users, especially those in transition, while ensuring the proper functioning of the Women+ Connect feature.