NEW YORK — For years, Lyft has been the good guy of ride-hailing. In early days, its cars were adorned with whimsical pink mustaches. Its founders talked about improving peoples’ lives by reducing individual car ownership. And while Uber drivers grabbed headlines for assaulting passengers, somehow — despite many drivers working for both companies — Lyft remained unscathed.
That changed when dozens of women filed lawsuits against Lyft in recent months, claiming that they were sexually assaulted by the company’s drivers. The women said Lyft did not do enough to keep them safe, and several said that when they reported the incidents, Lyft did little or nothing to make it right.
“They didn’t even really say sorry at all. They just said, ‘OK, well, we’re going to send you your money back,’” said Caroline Miller, 21, who says she was raped by a Lyft driver after a night out celebrating her birthday. “I didn’t even get an email. It was crazy. They kind of just pushed it under the rug, and were like, ‘whatever.’”
Miller is one of 19 women who jointly filed a lawsuit against Lyft in December. They argued Lyft could have done more to protect passengers by requiring in-car video monitoring and conducting fingerprint-based background checks.
Lyft declined an interview for the story but spokeswoman Ashley Adams said in an email, “Not a day passes when we aren’t thinking about the safety of our platform.”
Adams said Lyft launched more than 15 new safety features in the past few months, including in-app emergency assistance, continuous criminal background monitoring of drivers and mandatory feedback for rides rated less than four stars.