Currently, there is a large disparity between the percentage of women who request rides through the rideshare app, Lyft, and the percentage of women who drive for the platform. While almost half of all riders identify as women, only 23% of drivers identify similarly.
Through conversations with those in the Lyft community, the company has come to understand that more women “would consider driving rideshare” if “they had the ability to match with women riders,” Audrey Liu, head of design at Lyft, tells SI Swimsuit.
In order both to rectify the disparity between the percentages of drivers and riders identifying as women and to accommodate these requests from women drivers, Lyft has introduced a new feature on its platforms, Women+ Connect.
Beginning in select cities across the U.S.—including Chicago, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose—women and nonbinary drivers will now have the chance to opt in to a feature that will increase their chance of matching with women and nonbinary riders. Riders will likewise have the same chance to opt in or out. The company stresses that it is a preference feature and does not guarantee that women and nonbinary drivers will always be matched with women and nonbinary riders, and vice versa.
In terms of the potential motivators that pushed women and nonbinary drivers and riders to call for this sort of program, “some women may prefer to ride with other women because it makes them feel more confident, and some say they just like the camaraderie,” Liu says.
Built on driver and rider feedback, Women+ Connect is intended to meet those calls and encourage more women and nonbinary drivers to join Lyft. “To help us understand what would work for our community, we worked closely with drivers and riders—including women, men and nonbinary voices, when building Women+ Connect,” Liu explains. “We also consulted expert organizations—including Human Rights Campaign, NAWLEE and others. Their insight helped shape the feature from content design to how it works.”
The company is “encouraged by the response from our early access cities,” Liu says, a promising start for the new feature. “We hope Women+ Connect can help remove barriers to getting behind the wheel.”
The feature is available in over 50 cities across the country.