Ride-hailing platform Lyft has admitted that it received some 4000 sexual assault complaints between 2017 to 2019. A new report by the company shows how 2019 alone saw as many as over 1,800 such complaints.
Total Cases Rose, But Percentages Went Down
The report was long-awaited, as Lyft had pledged to release it in 2019 itself. The numbers serve to show how sexual assault complaints collected through the firm’s app have gone up over the years, from 1,096 in 2017 to 1,255 in 2018 and 1,807 in 2019. Interestingly, over 50 percent of the instances reported in 2019 had to do with “non-consensual touching of a sexual body part,” while another 156 reported “non-consensual sexual penetration.”
What’s more, also listed were as many as ten fatal assaults, with four of them having occurred in 2019 alone. At the same time, the company has also claimed that in the period specified in the report, over 99 percent of the rides taken by its customers were completed without any safety-related incident being reported.
Moreover, an official has also said that the rate of sexual assaults as a direct percentage of rides went down by 19 percent over the three years covered in the report. Head of Policy Development and Research, Jennifer Brandenburger, has said that despite the frequency of safety-related incidents on their platform being “rare,” Lyft does realize that “even one is too many.”
Following in Uber ‘s Footsteps, and Hoping to Encourage Others
These figures were released by Lyft nearly two years after rival platform Uber made public a similar report, revealing that it had received over 3,000 sexual assault reports in 2018 within the US alone. Ride-hailing services have been facing increasing scrutiny regarding safety issues, with pressure from both victims and Congress members mounting.
Following the release of the report, Lyft was praised by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, a group responsible for running the sexual assault hotline for victims. Spokesperson Erinn Robinson has said that Lyft releasing safety information will encourage other firms to follow in its footsteps, while adding that the only way to tackle the “pervasive problem” of sexual violence is to shine a “light into dark corners” and ponder on what can be done better.
Interestingly, Lyft itself has admitted that it is generally not keen of making information about safety-related issues public unless it is served with a subpoena, in what it believes to be the best choice for protecting the privacy of both its drivers and riders. Nevertheless, every such event registered is apparently investigated by contacting riders and drivers.