Sep 12, 2023 - Economy

Lyft’s new feature connects women and nonbinary drivers and passengers

A lyft screen

The prompt women and nonbinary passengers will receive from Lyft. Photo: Courtesy of Lyft

A new Lyft feature will prioritize matching women and nonbinary drivers and riders in an effort to provide more peace of mind during the rideshare experience.

Why it matters: Advocacy groups have long questioned the safety of ride-sharing, and recent reports indicate a startling number of violent crimes have occurred during Uber and Lyft rides, The New York Times reports.

State of play: Women make up nearly half of Lyft riders, but account for just 23% of drivers, according to a recent company survey.

  • Lyft is hopeful its new program will encourage more women drivers by providing an extra layer of safety and confidence.

What's happening: The program, dubbed Women+ Connect, will roll out Wednesday in Chicago, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose, with plans to quickly expand nationwide.

How it works: Women and nonbinary drivers will be able to turn on a preference to match with other nearby women and nonbinary riders. If none are available, drivers will be matched with men, according to Lyft.

  • Women and nonbinary riders in cities where Women+ Connect is available will be prompted in the app to participate, increasing their chances of connecting with women and nonbinary drivers.

By the numbers: Among women Lyft drivers surveyed by the company:

  • 57% said they drive to supplement their household income.
  • 98% said driving provides them with needed flexibility.
  • And 90% said driving lets them earn money while pursuing something else, like going to school or other employment.

What they're saying: Women+ Connect has won support from the Human Rights Campaign, the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE) and the National Sheriffs' Association Traffic Safety Committee.

  • "This is a great feature that can make an important difference in how women use and view rideshare," Kym Craven of NAWLEE said in a statement.
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