Lyft has risen to prominence during 2019, including raising billions of dollars by going public, marked by a publicity campaign which touts its “woke” image. However, not everything is going well for the company. Lyft is facing seven lawsuits brought by women who claimed they were assaulted by drivers, each of the lawsuits has been raised since 1st August 2019, according to Bloomberg.
In addition to the specific charges, The Washington Post reports that a dozen women from across the U.S. have described Lyft’s response to allegations of sexual harassment as “tone deaf and inadequate.”
Business Insider notes that Lyft’s critics have focused on the company’s app design, which apparently makes it difficult and confusing to report harassment or danger caused by a driver.
The company is also facing other types of lawsuits. Engadet reports about a newly filed class action suit from California resident who alleges that Lyft altered the fare distribution to misrepresent the drivers’ share and some drivers unfairly pour their lost income as a consequence. There is also action pending from the U.S. Disability Rights Advocates over the taxi service and access for disabled passengers.
According to Robert Prigge, President of Jumio, it is important that a 21st century company operating within the sharing economy is built on trust. He sees this as applying to Lyft as much as any other company operating in this relatively new sector.
Commenting specifically on the complaints by women about Lyft, Prigge says that “Lyft needs to change its mindset and reset its corporate (and moral) compass so that trust and safety become the hallmark of the company.”
This means, Prigge explains, taking “a tougher stance on monitoring new drivers (including thorough identity verification and criminal background checks). But, the process should not stop once they’ve been initially vetted.”
And vetting, as Prigge states, is not a one-off activity at the start of employment: “Lyft (and other car sharing services) need to continue the vetting process on an ongoing basis (since driver credentials are sometimes shared between multiple drivers).”
This issue of trust is crucial to the sharing economy. Prigge notes: “Trusting strangers is at the heart of its business model. Once the trust evaporates, so does the business model.”