Lyft adds a panic button to its app that allows riders to quickly call 911


What you need to know

  • Passengers will be able to contact 911 through an in-app panic button in the Lyft app.
  • License plate numbers are being enlarged in the app.
  • Rating a driver less than four stars will now require you to leave feedback as to why.

When it comes to hailing a Lyft or Uber these days, safety has come to the forefront, especially after several frightening incidents in the news. Most recently, there was a case involving a student in South Carolina who was killed after she got into the wrong car after calling for an Uber.

That's why Lyft is taking measures to make riders feel safer starting with an in-app panic button to call 911, a feature Uber added to its app last year for passengers. The button was already made available late last year in the app for Lyft drivers, but now riders will also have access to it in case of emergencies.

In an effort to prevent tragedies like the one in South Carolina, Lyft is also increasing the size of the license plate number in the app to prevent riders from getting into the wrong vehicle.

Another change to the Lyft app should help its drivers improve. From now on, when you rate a driver less than four stars, you will be required to leave feedback as to why. Afterward, the information you provide will be anonymously relayed to the driver allowing them to see the reason for the low rating.

Lyft has also begun offering sexual harassment prevention training for all of its drivers as well as passengers. Even though both Lyft and Uber conduct background checks on drivers, it still hasn't prevented a number of sexual assault or abuse allegations. Last year a CNN report found that 18 Lyft drivers and 103 Uber drivers had been accused of these offenses.

While those are some of the most recent changes Lyft has made, it's not all Lyft is doing to make the service as safe as possible for both drivers and passengers. Last month, it also announced it would institute continuous background checks along with enhanced identity verification for drivers.

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Jason England