Lyft has rolled out an innovative initiative aimed at enhancing safety for both riders and drivers who identify as women or nonbinary. They call it “Women+ Connect,” a feature designed to provide more opportunities for women and nonbinary drivers to match with women and nonbinary riders. The key point to note here is that this feature is entirely optional and based on personal preference.
Here’s how it works: If a driver opts for Women+ Connect, their matches will prioritize women and nonbinary riders. However, in situations where there are no available women or nonbinary riders nearby, the driver may still be matched with a male rider, and vice versa.
Initially, Women+ Connect is being introduced in select cities, including Chicago, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose. But don’t worry if you’re not in one of these areas; Lyft has plans to expand this feature to more cities in the near future.
To encourage participation in this safety-focused initiative, Lyft will present women and nonbinary riders and drivers in eligible areas with a “count me in” prompt. By agreeing to this prompt, they increase their chances of being matched with someone of the same gender identity.
One of the primary goals of this initiative is to enhance safety for women and nonbinary individuals using Lyft. According to a recent survey, nearly half of Lyft riders are women, but they represent only 23 percent of drivers on the platform. This discrepancy is something Lyft aims to address. Jody Kelman, Lyft’s executive vice president of customers, pointed out that women drivers often find it challenging to work at night, and this initiative aims to remove that barrier.
Safety is a paramount concern for ridesharing platforms like Lyft and Uber, and they have implemented various safety features over the years. These include options to easily contact support and emergency services, share location with loved ones during a ride, and even record audio from the trip. Lyft’s development of Women+ Connect involved consultation with experts from organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign and the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives.
It’s also noteworthy that Lyft makes it straightforward for both riders and drivers to adjust their gender identity within the app, offering users the ability to display their preferred pronouns. However, gender identity is not disclosed to other users, ensuring a balance between expressing one’s identity and ensuring that Women+ Connect functions as intended.
In summary, Lyft’s Women+ Connect initiative represents a commendable effort to prioritize safety and inclusivity for women and nonbinary individuals using their platform. As they expand this feature to more cities, it could potentially lead to a more secure and comfortable ridesharing experience for all.