Lyft updates safety policy post sexual assault allegations


San Francisco: Top US ride-hailing company Lyft Inc. has announced enhanced safety measures to protect its future riders after sexual assault allegations against it.

Lyft President and Co-Founder John Zimmer said the company introduced a new Smart Trip Check-In app that will be able to detect unexplained delays and both riders or drivers can request emergency assistance.

“This feature was built using data from millions of trips, and will roll out this year,” he said, Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday.

The San Francisco-based ride-share company also unveiled an in-app 911 service, which will be available to both riders and drivers.

“We don’t take lightly any instances where someone’s safety is compromised, especially in the rideshare industry, including the allegations of assault in the news last week,” Zimmer said.

Lyft’s updated safety policy changes came one week after 14 women brought a lawsuit against it in San Francisco Superior Court, in which they accused the ride-hailing firm of failing to accord enough protection to its riders during their trips.

One of them was a 25-year-old who only identified herself as Kim. She told a press conference last week she was sexually assaulted by her driver when she was coming back from a party with her friends last year.

In order to address the security concerns of its riders, Lyft said it is partnering with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the largest non-profit anti-sexual assault organization in the United States, to educate people to protect against bad actors.

“Starting this fall, all Lyft drivers will be required to complete additional mandatory Community Safety Education,” and both riders and drivers will be removed from the platform for failing to heed the company’s guidelines, Zimmer said.

“We’re taking further action toward our goal of making Lyft the safest form of transportation for everyone,” he noted.