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Lyft Launches New Safety Feature for Women and Nonbinary Users

The opt-in feature will enable women and nonbinary riders and drivers to request to be matched up.

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2 min read
Lyft logo on a phone screen

Lyft's Women Plus Connect feature is available in a handful of cities.

James Martin/CNET

Lyft is rolling out a new feature for women and nonbinary users to help make the ride-hailing experience more comfortable for riders and drivers. 

Women Plus Connect, announced Tuesday, is an opt-in, preference-based feature that works to match up women and nonbinary riders with women and nonbinary drivers. If you're a female or nonbinary Lyft driver, you can toggle the feature on or off in the driver preferences section of the app. Women and nonbinary riders will see a prompt that says, "Count me in" or "No thanks." 

For now, the feature is only available in Chicago, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose. Lyft said it will expand to more cities in the coming months. The company also said that riders and drivers in the initial cities will be able to update their gender in the app.

graphic showing new feature in Lyft app

Here's a peek at what Lyft users will see in Women Plus Connect.

Lyft

Lyft explained that the feature is not a guarantee but a preference that women and nonbinary drivers and riders are matched up. They could be connected with men if there's no availability in the area at the time of the request. The ride-hailing company hopes to improve safety and inclusivity for the platform, and created the feature in collaboration with several organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign and the National Sheriffs' Association.

"Women+ Connect is all about providing more women and nonbinary people the opportunity to earn money on their terms and giving riders more choice," said Lyft CEO David Risher in a statement. "We hope this gives millions of drivers and riders another reason to choose Lyft."

The ride-hailing industry has implemented a wave of safety measures over the past several years to increase protections for both drivers and passengers. Uber, for instance, has added seatbelt alerts and Live Help, which connects users with real-time safety agents who can monitor their trips. Its safety toolkit also includes the ability to record audio during rides. Lyft began offering a 911 panic button and check-in feature in 2019 to help deter crime and sexual assault. Additionally, there are ride-hailing apps that cater specifically to children or women, such as HopSkipDrive and Just Her Rideshare.

The safety measures were introduced after hundreds of allegations over assault and sexual assault in ride-hailing vehicles, including fatal assaults, which resulted in multiple lawsuits and fines for Lyft and Uber.

You can learn more about how to set up your preferences by reading Lyft's FAQ. Be sure to also check out our coverage on Lyft's driverless robotaxis and Uber's options for parents.