Lyft Follows Uber, Promises to Prioritize Rider Safety

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

At the start of this month, Uber released a safety report in a bid to address concerns surrounding rider welfare. Not to be outdone, its main competitor also took steps to convince the masses that it’s also doing everything within its power to keep customers safe.

Lyft is forming a council of experts to assist the ride-hailing company in revising safety initiatives for riders and drivers. The group will include representatives from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), It’s On Us, the National Sheriffs’ Association, the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives, and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. As with Uber’s report, Lyft is focused on incidents of sexual assault — and blaming society for any problems it may have.

“As the Lyft platform grows, we are seeing issues that are endemic in our society manifest on our platform and have an opportunity to address them. Issues that are so nuanced, complex and widespread in our society require sophisticated solutions that go beyond standard product design,” said Lyft’s VP of Safety and Customer Engagement, Eman Barhoumeh (who will be heading the council.

“To identify these solutions, and ensure they are implemented thoughtfully, we must consider the perspectives of a diverse set of subject matter experts. I so appreciate all our Safety Advisory Council members who have generously offered their time and commitment to this important shared endeavor.”

Like the Uber release, Lyft’s response seems somewhat unnecessary. Yet both businesses have taken hits in the media over mostly isolated — yet still horrifying — incidents of sexual assault. Lyft was the subject of two lawsuits in late 2019 after over two dozen women accused it of not taking adequate steps to protect riders.

In truth, both companies have fairly comprehensive methods of reporting driver misconduct already. They’ve also improved the screening process for drivers and ways for customers to verify who is behind the wheel. In September, Lyft announced a partnership with RAINN to ensure it was effective in educating itself about how best protect against “bad actors.” Still, neither company seems less safe than any other transport service on the market.

It’s also not clear what tangible measures the new council is supposed to take. If rape and murder really is endemic to the locations in which riders find themselves hailing, reducing the number of incidents seems like a lot to ask for. But it makes for good PR and is worth a shot.

[Image: Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • ToolGuy Friendly reminder of two indisputable facts: A) Winners buy new vehicles (only losers buy used), and B) New vehicle buyers are geniuses (their vehicle choices prove it):
  • Groza George Stellantis live off the back of cheap V8 cars with old technology and suffers from lack of new product development. Now that regulations killed this market, they have to ditch the outdated overhead.They are not ready to face the tsunami of cheap Chinese EVs or ready to even go hybrid and will be left in the dust. I expect most of their US offerings to be made in Mexico in the future for good tariff protection and lower costs of labor instead of overpriced and inflexible union labor.
  • MaintenanceCosts This is delaying an oil change for my Highlander by a couple of weeks, as it prevented me from getting an appointment before a business trip out of town. Oh well, much worse things have happened.I also just got a dealership oil change for my BMW (thanks, loss-leader prepaid plans!) and this didn't seem to affect them at all.
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  • Lou_BC There's a company in BC that has kits for logging trucks and pickups. They have "turn key" logging trucks too. What they market is similar to what Ram wants to sell. The rig runs on batteries and a generator kicks in when depleted. On the West Coast logging in the mountains they found that the trucks run mostly on regen braking. The generator doesn't kick in much. Going up mountain, the truck is empty.
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