Lyft announced several new initiatives on Tuesday that are designed to enhance the safety of its passengers. The company is adding an in-app panic button for riders who need to call 911. (It did the same for the driver’s app late last year.)
Other changes include an enlarged version of the driver’s license plate number in the app, which is an effort to prevent passengers from getting in the wrong vehicle. The changes come a month after a University of South Carolina student was killed allegedly by a man posing as her Uber driver.
Lyft is also offering sexual harassment prevention training to all of its drivers and riders in light of the numerous incidents of harassment or assault that have occurred in ride-hail vehicles over the last few years.
A 2018 CNN report found that 103 Uber drivers and 18 Lyft drivers had been accused of sexual assault or abuse. Both companies conduct background checks and say passenger safety is their top priority.
Lastly, Lyft will require passengers to provide feedback every time they rate a driver less than four stars. That information will then be anonymously communicated to the driver so they can see the reasons for the low rating.
Since going public in the last few months, both Lyft and Uber are dealing with an increasingly angry workforce of drivers who are demanding higher earnings and greater accountability from the ride-hail companies.
Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of product updates from Lyft that are centered on safety. Last month, the company said it would institute a policy of continuous background checks and enhanced identity verification for drivers. Uber implemented continuous background checks last year, around the same time it added an in-app panic button for customers.
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