Culture

Lyft has yet to disclose sexual assault incidents as cases grow


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By Sara Ashley O’Brien | CNN Business

More than three years after ridehail companies Uber and Lyft first pledged to release safety reports disclosing incidents of sexual assault and abuse on their platforms, Lyft has yet to do so. Meanwhile, hundreds of passengers are now lining up for potential lawsuits over alleged incidents of this nature, plaintiff lawyers tell CNN Business.

In May 2018, after a CNN investigation into sexual assault and abuse incidents by ride-hail drivers, Uber and Lyft, each committed to releasing safety transparency reports that would disclose internal data on the most severe safety incidents on their platforms. By the end of 2019, Uber put out its first report, which revealed it had received 5,981 reports of sexual assault involving passengers and drivers in the two years prior, including 464 reports of rape.

Lyft, for its part, has not followed through on its own prior timelines for putting out the report.

When CNN Business asked Lyft in September 2019 about the status of the report, Lyft said it planned to release its transparency report by the end of the year. In May 2020, Lyft told CNN Business the company planned to release the report that year.

In March 2021, Lyft’s head of policy development, Jennifer Brandenburger, cited a roadblock: Lyft, she said, is waiting for Uber to resolve its ongoing issue with the California Public Utilities Commission prior to releasing its own report. (The CPUC requested additional information on incidents that occurred in the state and then fined Uber for failing to comply with its request; CPUC and Uber are in ongoing mediation to resolve the issue.)

In a statement, Lyft spokesperson Ashley Adams told CNN Business, “The CPUC’s recent actions put victims’ privacy at risk and must be resolved before we will release our safety report.”

When asked about the changed timelines, Lyft told CNN Business it had decided to include data from 2019 in its report and was waiting on government traffic fatality data to be released. By the time it was, the CPUC had taken issue with Uber’s report.

As Lyft waits, legal cases against the company continue to grow stemming from its handling of alleged sexual assault and rape incidents. At least 72 passengers are suing the company over alleged incidents. Of those cases, a small number are expected to go to trial through a coordinated proceeding. Some of the cases allege Lyft has been aware that its drivers were sexually assaulting and raping female passengers for years but has failed to take adequate steps to protect passengers and warn them of the issue.

The first trial is set to begin in January 2022.

(Lyft referred CNN Business to its statement from December 2019, after suits were filed: “Everyone deserves the ability to move about the world safely, yet women still face disproportionate risks. We recognize these risks, which is why we are relentless in building safety into every aspect of our work. That means continually investing in …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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