Creators share mixed reactions to Lyft’s ‘Women+ Connect’ initiative: ‘It’s so sad that I have to think this way’

As women on TikTok continue to share their ride-share safety tips, some are rejoicing over the fact that Lyft has launched a “highly requested feature” that prioritizes women and nonbinary riders. Other creators, however, have also taken to TikTok to voice their skepticism of the in-app initiative.

In a Lyft blog post dated Sept. 12, the San Francisco-based company revealed the introduction of “Women+ Connect,” a new feature that “matches women and nonbinary drivers with more women and nonbinary riders.”

Steph Bohrer (@wydstephbohrer), a recent graduate of Arizona State University, has described the “groundbreaking” feature as “truly the best thing” that’s ever happened to her.

“I get so much anxiety every time I take an Uber by myself or Lyft by myself,” Bohrer said on Sept. 14. “Like, the amount of times I post on my private story about the feeling of relief when you get into a taxi and you have a female driver. And now I can sign up to where I only get matched with women? This is amazing.”

Commenters on Bohrer’s video had a similar reaction to news of the new, albeit limited, initiative. “Oh thank god. I haven’t been to a bar in so long because i don’t want to deal with the lyfts after,” @nataliegbelsha wrote in response.

“I have been literally just thinking WHY this wasn’t already available,” @user.50060321 added.

This feature isn’t an option nationwide, however. It’s only being rolled out in San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, Calif., Phoenix and Chicago, and does not entirely exclude men from the equation, according to Lyft. Getting matched with more women and nonbinary drivers (and riders) is “not a guarantee” and is contingent on whether or not they’re close by.

“The feature offers the option to turn on a preference in the Lyft app to prioritize matches with other nearby women and nonbinary riders,” read Lyft’s statement. “If no women or nonbinary riders are nearby, drivers with the preference on will still be matched with men as Women+ Connect is a preference feature, not a guarantee.”

Marcé (@marcel_marceau) shared her more skeptical take on the feature on Sept. 14, namely that “all hell’s about to break loose,” touching on the issue of people potentially being able to choose their drivers based on possible discriminatory practices.

In September 2022, Lyft was faced with 17 lawsuits from people who used the service and alleged that the ride share company “failed to protect passengers and drivers from physical and sexual assault,” NPR reported. Of the 17 lawsuits, 14 were from individuals who claimed they were sexually assaulted while using Lyft. Three claimed that they were physically assaulted.

On Sept. 14, CiCi Harris (@cicihharris) said in a reaction video of her own, “Do you know how many men are gonna ‘accidentally’ set their settings to this just so they can do some effed up s***? And it’s so sad that I have to think this way, but that’s the way I’m thinking. That’s the first thing I thought about.”

“Damn. I didn’t even think of that,” @joyusx3 commented on the video.

TikTok user @lavender_jones agreed with Harris’s perspective and referenced “the women who let their bfs who can’t pass a background check use their accounts and drive/delivery under women names.”

@its_andreyuh added, “I said the same thing! They need confirmation checks or something. This just goes to show how destructive men are.”

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