Ride-hailing services promise safety as part of their product offerings and terms of service, but it’s only normal for riders to wonder if Lyft is as safe as the company claims.
In the last quarter of 2020, about 12.5 million people used Lyft.
Compared to the same period in 2019, the numbers are lower.
However, these 12.5 million rides still represent about 29% of the market share in the rideshare industry.
It hasn’t been smooth sailing so far.
Lyft has had sexual assault lawsuits, a situation that raises questions about rider safety.
In this brief guide, we’ll show whether or not Lyft is safe for riders.
We’ll also explore possible risks and helpful tips to guarantee rider safety.
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Is Lyft Safe to Use?
For instance, recent happenings seem to indicate that Lyft is safer for men than women.
The majority of the litigations against Lyft have come due to sexual assaults on women.
These worrying developments have led the company to create features that’ll better ensure passenger safety.
Lyft Safety Features and Programs
The safety features and measures on offer by Lyft have been evolving over the past years.
With the advent of the novel coronavirus, more safety rules are surfacing.
In this section, we’ll do a roundup of the most important features Lyft has put in place to ensure the safety of its users.
1. COVID-19 Safety Measures
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen many businesses employ CDC rules and guidance geared at keeping everyone safe.
It’s a situation that also applies to the ride-sharing industry.
Before using a Lyft ride, you must be symptom-free and must agree to use a face mask.
The mask rule applies to all riders regardless of whether they’re vaccinated.
When Lyft gets feedback that either the driver or rider isn’t using a mask, an obligatory selfie is required.
The COVID-19 safety measures will continue till the pandemic is over.
2. In-App License Plate Visibility
License plates are the easiest way to identify your ride, and Lyft is helping you take advantage of this precaution.
The tab containing the driver’s license plate information in the Lyft app is now bigger to help riders find it easily.
The Lyft Amp is also helpful in helping riders identify their vehicles.
You should always check the license plate as a precaution, but an Amp helps the vehicles stand out from the rest.
3. Rider Emergency Assistance
An important feature of the Lyft app is the emergency button.
It allows riders to reach 911 for emergency help right from within the app.
If you feel you’re in danger, the button will come in handy.
4. Mandatory Feedback
Feedback is a part of every SaaS platform.
Lyft took it further with the secondary feedback system.
With the Lyft Ratings system, when a rider leaves a star rating less than four, they’ll need to provide context that’ll drive required actions from Lyft.
Feedback will be sent to drivers anonymously, giving them wiggle room to improve and ultimately provide riders with a better experience.
If drivers drop too far in ratings, they’ll face a Lyft deactivation.
5. Identity Verification
Identity verification for drivers is one of the most important features the app has launched since its inception.
This safety program was released in 2018, leveraging technology to prevent identity fraud.
6. Sexual Harassment Education
Another security program launched by Lyft is sexual harassment and safety education for all drivers and riders.
The education is part of an effort by the company to mitigate the most common form of insecurity on its platform — sexual harassment.
Related: Is Uber or Lyft safer for riders?
What is Lyft’s Safe Ride Fee?
The Safe Ride Fee, now part of Lyft’s Service Fee is a flat fee added to every ride.
It covers safety measures like background checks and insurance to ensure riders’ safety.
The Biggest Risks to Riders
Safety remains a big issue for ride-hailing services, and Lyft is no different.
As a user of these services, there are certain security risks you should know.
1. Fake Drivers
Because Lyft employs a gig economy model to business, anyone can be a driver.
Worse, it can be challenging to control the surge of fake drivers.
It’s easy for criminals to register on the platform by procuring forged identification and other required documents.
Due to the impossibility of real-time verification, it’s not easy to detect real drivers from fake ones.
As a result, the existence of counterfeit drivers on Lyft makes it less safe.
As part of the Lyft background check, the company has upgraded its identity verification program.
This additional step makes it extremely difficult for drivers to use bogus identities.
This identity verification program has been able to crack down on these anomalies.
However, it’s still possible for fake drivers to get on the ride-hailing platform in rare cases.
2. Criminals and Scams
While most Lyft rides go off without a hitch, for prevention purposes, riders need to be aware of scam drivers.
Some drivers claim that the rider made a mess in the vehicle and demand remuneration for it.
There are also instances of drivers knowingly taking longer routes to rack up your Lyft bill.
Accidents are another risk which riders face from using Lyft.
You may not expect accidents to occur frequently with these personal rides, but they do happen.
Some of the major causes of accidents on Lyft include:
- Distracted driving
- Scanning for passengers
- Driver fatigue
- Improper vehicle maintenance
- Improper parking
- Reckless driving
- Driving under the influence
Safety Tips for Riders
The following tips can ensure your safety before, during, and after a Lyft ride:
1. Wait in a Safe Place
One of the many ways to stay safe while using Lyft is to wait for your ride in a safe place.
The Lyft app can tell you exactly where your ride is per time.
It’s best to remain indoors until you can identify the rider.
2. Verify the Driver and Car
When you order a ride, always make sure the car that pulls up at your driveway is what the Lyft application says you should expect.
The car model, license plate number, and driver details must tally with the information on the Lyft app.
Order another ride if the driver is trying to give you an excuse for why the details differ.
Don’t take the risk of getting into the car with an unverified rider.
3. Ask ‘What’s my Name?’
It would be best if you only got into a vehicle that pulls up as your ride when the driver can say your name.
The app notifies the driver of your name.
Therefore, your driver must be able to tell you what your name is.
If they are the actual driver you’re expecting, they’ll also know your destination.
4. Use Trip-sharing Features
Another way to be safe with Lyft is to use the trip-sharing feature.
The feature allows you to share your ride with a trusted person that’s not taking the ride with you.
The person will be able to trace and monitor your location all through the trip.
You can access the trip sharing feature with the ‘Share Route” button.
5. Choose a Seat Wisely
While taking a ride, it’s always better to sit at the back.
By sitting at the back, you have two exits to use in case of emergencies.
If you sit in the owner’s corner, you can effectively monitor whatever the driver is doing.
Conversely, if you sit directly behind the driver, you’ll not see what’s going on.
Car designs are different.
Hence, get familiar with this rule of thumb: it’s best to sit in the back seat, close to the door, and in a way that allows you to see the driver directly.
All in all, you can sit where you feel the safest — beside the driver or in the back.
Be vigilant in either case.
6. Don’t Share Personal Information
There’s nothing wrong with communicating with the driver.
But, ensure you aren’t sharing any personal or sensitive information with the driver.
If you’re making calls during the ride, avoid conversations that’ll make you say personal information out loud.
You should also not give out your social media information.
If you’re going home too, it’s best to stop somewhere that’s a safe distance from your home.
7. Exit the Vehicle Safely
Don’t be in haste to exit the vehicle when the trip ends.
Before you open the door, look around to confirm that there’s no oncoming traffic.
Which is Safer, Lyft, or Uber?
It’s hard to pinpoint which is safer between Lyft and Uber.
Both have serious security threats they need to address, as it’s possible for the same driver to use both platforms.
However, with measures that are currently in place and the number of complaints that have persisted, it’s possible to say Lyft is safer.
But the playing fields of both companies are of different sizes.
The continuous effort to ensure safety lies with the riders, drivers, and the company.
Security is a problem that needs constant attention from all affected parties.
What Can be Done to Make Lyft Even Safer?
Verification of drivers should be topmost on Lyft’s list of features to continue doubling down on.
Unfortunately, someone without any criminal record can perpetuate a crime.
Hence, Lyft needs to do better than conducting background checks.
Lyft is relatively safe, but you can never be too sure.
Above, we have put together a list of security features and tips that’ll make your Lyft rides safer.
It’s not the individual responsibility of the driver.
From verifying driver information to using the trip-sharing feature, you’ve got a part to play in making sure your rides are as safe as your car. Stay safe!