Lyft is making serious moves to establish itself as the ride-sharing app for women. With two big hires in January, the company's board is now almost 50% female. That's big news, in a country where the boards of the top 100 companies are comprised of 83% men. Lyft is also working hard to hire women drivers — a rare sight in cabs of all types.
The app works just like Uber — you tap to request pick-up and a car shows up — and is currently available in over 60 cities. But, its progressive, female-friendly vibe is where it's really trying to stand out.
Most of Lyft’s passengers are women, and more than 30% of its drivers are — that’s two times more than its “nearest competitor” (which we assume means Uber). The company also makes a point to focus on rigorous background checks (both criminal and driving-related); face-to-face evaluations of potential drivers; thorough vehicle inspections; and a zero-tolerance alcohol policy. “When you have so many females sitting at the table making decisions, it's reflected in our brand experience and company values,” Kira Wampler, Lyft’s chief marketing officer, tells us.
It's a point of differentiation for the company, especially since Uber, its biggest competitor, has had some PR difficulties, particularly when it comes to women. Most notably, last fall, an exec threatened to spend a million dollars to reveal personal details of a female journalist who'd written bad things about the company. There have also been allegations of rape and harassment of female passengers. We reached out to Uber about this story, but representatives declined to comment.
Lyft is also partnering with It’s On Us, a White House-sponsored campaign to stop sexual assault by encouraging people to “take the pledge” to “create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.” (Just FYI: Jon Hamm supports the endeavor, if that kind of thing matters to you.)
Wampler explains that the company’s alignment with It’s On Us is intended as a further expression of its dedication to “supporting local communities in every way we can.” She mentions Lyft's focus on “welcoming rides,” and says, “We're honored to stand with It's On Us and encourage our passengers and drivers to learn more about the important role everyone can play in ending sexual assault."
The company also recently paired with other women-focused, anti-assault and anti-harassment organizations including Stop Street Harassment, Hollaback, and Collective Action for Safe Spaces. And, on an unrelated — but, again, pretty awesome — note, who can forget that time when almost 50 Lyft drivers dressed up like zombies for Halloween and handed out candy (and creepiness) to unsuspecting passengers?
Pretty solid, guys. Pretty solid.