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Lyft has yet to disclose sexual assault incidents as cases grow

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In May 2018, after a CNN research in cases of sexual assault and abuse by vehicle drivers, Uber (UBER) i Lift (LIFT), were committed to publishing security transparency reports that would reveal internal data about the most serious security incidents on their platforms. In late 2019, Uber released its first report, which he revealed had received 5,981 reports of sexual assault related to passengers and drivers in the previous two years, including 464 reports of rape.

Lyft, meanwhile, has not followed its own deadlines for publishing 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 later this year. In May 2020, Lyft told CNN Business that the company planned to release the report that year.

In March 2021, Lyft Policy Development Officer Jennifer Brandenburger quoted a blockage: Lyft said it expects Uber to resolve its issue with the California Utilities Commission before releasing its own report. (The CPUC requested additional information about incidents in the state and then fined Uber for failing to comply with its request; CPUC and Uber are in the process of mediating to resolve the issue).

In a statement, Lyft spokeswoman Ashley Adams told CNN Business: “Recent CPUC actions put victims’ privacy at risk and must be resolved before we release our security report.”

When asked about the changed deadlines, Lyft told CNN Business that it had decided to include 2019 data in its report and hoped that government traffic mortality data would be released. When the time came, the CPUC had argued with the Uber report.

Uber and Lyft eventually shared names of drivers disabled by sexual assault and other serious incidents
While Lyft waits, legal cases against the company continue to grow as a result of its handling of alleged sexual assaults and rapes. At least 72 passengers are suing the company for alleged incidents. Of these cases, a small number are expected to go to trial through a coordinated procedure. Some of the cases to allege Lyft has been aware that its drivers sexually assaulted and raped female passengers for years, but failed to take appropriate measures to protect passengers and warn them of the problem.

The first trial is scheduled to begin in January 2022.

(Lyft referred CNN Business to its December 2019 statement after lawsuits were filed: “Everyone deserves the chance to move around the world safely, even though women still face disproportionate risks. We recognize these risks. , which is why we are relentless in building safety in all aspects of our work. This means continually investing in new functions and policies to protect our pilots and drivers. “)

According to Levin Simes Abrams LLP, one of three companies filing cases against Lyft, the number of passengers seeking legal advice for alleged sexual assault and abuse claims by Lyft drivers is much higher. The firm said it has retained more than 400 clients whose cases it is investigating and processing, with approximately 80 cases currently being filed. Estey & Bomberger LLP, another company that brings separate cases against Lyft and is also part of the coordinated proceedings, said it has “many” alleged victims whose cases have not yet been filed.

“These [cases] will keep coming unless [Lyft] change its procedures or institute more security measures, “Angela Nehmens, an associate attorney for Levin Simes Abrams LLP, told CNN Business last month.” Uber at least tries to be open to the public. … Lyft doesn’t do it at all. ”

“They’re not cooperatives,” said Rachel Abrams, a partner at Levin Simes Abrams, who added that while Uber meets regularly with the company to try to resolve cases, Lyft does not.

Lyft declined to comment on the cases.

Lyft has been plagued by more driver rapes and sexual assault allegations

For Lyft, there is a lot at stake when it comes to publishing the report, including the potential to make its mark just as the U.S. economy begins to reopen.

Lyft also faces an ongoing class action lawsuit against investors alleging securities fraud. The dress, which was the first presented in 2019 after the company was made public, specifically, alleges a disconnect between Lyft’s public image and the treatment of sexual assault incidents.

“Lyft built a reputation as a company that cares about women, security and social issues. Lyft’s focus on the strength of its reputation was a key selling point for IPO investors.” , according to the complaint. “Contrary to the public image … Lyft had a widespread problem with sexual assaults committed by its drivers.”

The complaint further states that Lyft did not disclose this in its IPO statement, which did no mention of the subject.

Lyft declined to comment on investor demand.

According to Susan Sorenson, a professor of social policy at the University of Pennsylvania, whose research areas include the issue of violence against women, it is “reasonable cause” that Lyft has not yet disclosed this data, which would help to define the nature and scope of the problem on its platform for the general public.

Sorenson said companies “can act and do so when they see it in their best interest.”

Information about security incidents can help people make informed decisions about how and when to travel, but transparency also runs the risk of damaging a company’s reputation, according to Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, a distinguished professor of planning and UCLA urban design.

“[The companies] I should be very concerned if people start saying that there are a growing number of people complaining about harassment because this whole idea of ​​safe travel through Lyft or Uber is breaking down, ”Loukaitou-Sideris said. ” I think that’s why they really protect their data on this point. “

Loukaitou-Sideris, who has studied sexual harassment on public transportation, said not producing any reports could also discourage incident reporting to the company.

One of the reasons people do not report alleged incidents of sexual violence, according to Loukaitou-Sideris, is because they perceive that nothing will happen as a result of their complaint. “By not publishing this data, there is one more reason that justifies this approach,” he said, citing a possible unintended consequence that Lyft has yet to publish a report.

Meanwhile, Uber will release its second transparency report later this year. While Uber “took a really important first step” in posting its data, Sorenson said it still has a lot more to do.

Sorenson said it would be helpful to release raw data anonymously so we can study it. In addition, she and attorneys for Levin Simes Abrams LLC said hail companies could require drivers to record trips, for example, so there is more responsibility within vehicles for both drivers and drivers. passengers. (Recently, Uber began asking drivers to register their control cameras with the company, and stated that it can help drivers follow local surveillance and recording laws. The company said it warns drivers that their trip will be recorded if a driver has registered the control camera, which may result in security incidents.)

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