This morning, the popular rideshare company Lyft announced a new preference feature within the mobile app! Female and non-binary identifying riders can now select drivers who have the same gender. The new feature is called Women-plus Connect. While it is not active in Los Angeles, Lyft has announced an early launch in cities such as Chicago, Phoenix, San Jose, and San Francisco.
In a press release, Lyft CEO David Risher said, “Women Plus Connect is all about providing more women and nonbinary people the opportunity to earn money on their terms and giving riders more choice.”
The feature will increase riders’ chances to be paired with women and nonbinary drivers by selecting the “count me in” option.
After selecting their preference, the female or nonbinary rider will increase their chances of being paired with women or non-binary drivers. While more opportunity increases, if there are no women or non-binary drivers available, the rider will be paired with a man.
Safety is key for many women and non-binary riders, but drivers also feel this is a great option for riders’ comfort.
L.A. Lyft driver Melissa thinks the new preference option is a great thing. She began driving for Lyft seven years ago when she needed to supplement her income due to health issues.
Melissa: When my female riders see me, they are very excited and happy. They say “Oh my god, I’m so happy I have a female driver.”
More money may not equal more problems after all, especially if one is safe.
Melissa: I think it’s great because most of my female riders have told me they feel safe with a female driver.
Fellow Lyft driver Marcela Molina also thinks it is a great option for women who don’t want to take public transit.
Marcela Molina: I think it’s a really good idea because sometimes women don’t like to use public transit because they don’t feel safe. So it is a really good idea for us.
Women Plus Connect may just be the feature needed to provide inclusivity and give women and non-binary riders a better sense of safety while traveling. For Annenberg Media, I’m Kaleef Starks.