SAN JOSE, Calif. -- After facing lawsuits and criticisms related to the safety of its riders, Lyft said it will implement new measures designed to improve the security of its customers and its drivers.
In a blog post Tuesday, Lyft co-founder and President John Zimmer said that the San Francisco-based ride-hailing company will now partner with the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network to offer safety education and training to all of its drivers. New drivers will be required to complete the training before they begin working for Lyft, while the company's current drivers will be given a certain time frame to go through the training course.
Zimmer said safety was one of the "key values" upon which Lyft was founded.
"We don't take lightly any instances where someone's safety is compromised," he said. "The onus is on all of us to learn from any incident, whether it occurs on our platform or not, and then work to help prevent them."
Among the steps Zimmer said Lyft would be taking is adding a new feature to its app called "Smart Trip Check-In." This will give riders, and drivers, the ability to contact Lyft's support team if a ride appears to be encountering unexplained delays or going through areas that a rider or driver may think are dangerous or include longer-than-expected routes. Lyft will begin rolling out the new feature through the rest of the year.
Another option Zimmer said Lyft will be adding is the means to contact 911 for emergency assistance directly from the app during a ride.
Last week, 14 women joined a lawsuit against Lyft in which they accused the company of failing to properly investigate the criminal backgrounds of its drivers. Some of the women involved in the suit say they were sexually assaulted by Lyft drivers, and that the ride-hailing giant didn't adequate inform the riders about the potential dangers they faced when they used its services.
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