Rideshare App’s new safety feature matches women and non-binary riders and drivers

Woman arranging taxi service using mobile app on smart phone, standing on the city street, with illuminated street lights in the background.

Ride-hailing app Lyft has announced a new safety feature that will help match female and non-binary drivers to female and non-binary passengers.

The feature, called Women+ Connect will help women and non-binary users to increase their chances of connecting with one another through a new setting on the app – though there is still a chance that they can be matched with a man when no women or non-binary people are available.

With Women+ Connect, Lyft says it hopes to help women and nonbinary people feel safer and more comfortable, while also encouraging more female and non-binary Lyft drivers to sign up.

At the time of writing, women make up about half of Lyft’s passengers, but only 23 per cent of its drivers, the company told The New York Times

Lyft’s executive vice president of customers Jody Kelman said: “Women drivers tell us it’s hard to drive at night. We need to remove a barrier for women drivers today.”

“Good vibes. Conversations that turn into friendships. Comfortable silence. A nod that says ‘I get it.’ Women+ Connect empowers women and nonbinary riders and drivers,” the Women+ Connect page on Lyft’s website reads.

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In the FAQ section of the site, Lyft clarifies that, of course, transgender women are also included in Women+ Connect, stating: “Transgender, or trans, is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity is different from the sex assigned to them at birth. Transgender women are women, and are eligible for Women+ Connect.”

For the time being, Women+ Connect is available in five cities that have a higher proportion of female drivers: San Francisco, Chicago, Phoenix, San Diego, and San Jose. 

Lyft intends to monitor how its new feature goes in these five locations before expanding it across the US.

If you’re a driver in one of these cities, you can access Women+ Connect through your driving preferences on the app. Once it’s toggled on, the feature will prioritise matches with women and non-binary riders.

Lyft Women+ Connect
Women+ Connect matches female and non-binary drivers and riders. (Getty Images)

Similarly, riders who have the latest version of Lyft downloaded will be asked to select “Count me in” or “No thanks” to using Women+ Connect. They also have the option to update their gender in their profile to be eligible for the service.

Commenting on the new update, Jay Brown from the Human Rights Campaign said: “Women+ Connect was built with intentionality to make rideshare better for women and nonbinary riders. When rideshare is better for these folks, it’s better for everyone, and we at HRC stand behind that.”

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