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Lyft expands program that matches women and nonbinary riders to drivers

It’s now available in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami and other places.

Lyft

Lyft is expanding its Women+ Connect program to a bunch of new cities. This initiative originally launched in a limited number of locations back in September, but now it's getting a much larger rollout.

Women+ Connect does exactly what the name implies. It connects women and nonbinary riders to similarly identifying drivers, and vice versa. This is an opt-in feature that aims to bolster safety during rides, in addition to enticing women and nonbinary people to become drivers for the platform. Lyft says that nearly half of riders are women, but they only make up 23 percent of drivers.

Here’s how it works: You turn on the feature and it’ll connect you to an appropriate driver based on the gender you entered when signing up. For drivers, it uses the gender associated with the license on file. If there’s no women or nonbinary drivers looking for fares, you’ll still get matched with a male driver, so you won’t be standing around outside in the cold.

The program started in just a few cities, including Chicago, Phoenix and San Francisco. It’s apparently been a huge success for Lyft, with the company noting that 2.4 million riders have turned on Women+ Connect since the September launch and more than half of eligible drivers have begun using the service. It also says that this feature has the highest satisfaction rate of any driver tool the company has ever launched.

Women+ Connect is available today in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Las Vegas, Dallas, Washington D.C. and other places. Check the app to see if the feature is available where you live.

This is the latest tool employed by ridesharing platforms to increase safety and reduce instances of sexual assault and other violent encounters. Uber recently made it easier for riders and drivers to contact 911 and live safety agents. The platform has also begun allowing both riders and drivers to record audio during trips.