New Lyft feature Women+ Connect, aims to improve safety for riders

Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

Every time a woman gets in the car hailed with a rideshare app, they’re putting themselves in danger, but a new feature hopes to cut down that risk.

Last year, after an Uber driver named Felix Torres dropped off a woman he had given a ride to in Villas, he put on a mask and followed her to her apartment door. He then raped her with his hands over her mouth in South Fort Myers.

Lyft is adding a feature called Women+ Connect, allowing women and nonbinary riders to choose a preference for drivers of the same gender.

The feature hasn’t launched in Florida yet, but WINK News spoke to a Lyft driver along with riders at the airport to get their take on the feature.

“I think, if that makes women feel safer driving, riding in a car, Uber, then that’s fine. I mean, whatever helps make them feel more comfortable,” said Andy Duffy, an Uber and Lyft driver.

Women+ Connect will be a preference option on the Lyft app for riders and drivers to choose from.

Ride-share apps have come under fire in recent years over sexual assault incidents and safety incidents during rides.

Lyft has said 23% of its drivers are women. They hope the Women+ Connect feature will make using Lyft safer for women. Lyft said in a blog post, “When the feature goes live in a city, women and nonbinary riders will be prompted to their Lyft app to select ‘count me in.'”

“I think it’s wonderful. I think anything we can do to keep women safe is wonderful,” said Sandy, a ride-share app user.

“I agree with it. Women are more trustworthy,” said Iesha, a ride-share app user.

It’s noteworthy that Lyft said the feature is not a guarantee. If no women or nonbinary riders are nearby, drivers will still be matched with men.

Lyft said they will be rolling out Women+ Connect in select cities in the United States, but they’re looking to roll out in more cities very soon.

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