Lyft, Inc. has come under scrutiny for its handling of sexual assault accusations against passengers and drivers. Dozens of victims have come forward and filed lawsuits against the rideshare company.
Lyft Sexual Assault Survivors Share Their Stories
Lyft drivers and passengers have alleged they were victims of sexual violence while using the rideshare service. Many of the stories victims have shared begin the same way: they thought they were acting safely when they called for a Lyft.
In some cases, victims were intoxicated and sought a safe ride home through the app. Other victims live with a disability and rely on rideshare apps to get around safely.
Instead, victims say predators abused the app and assaulted them. These events will impact victims for the rest of their lives. Additionally, critics say Lyft’s refusal to take responsibility minimizes the experiences and trauma these victims face.
Lyft User Brittany Robinson Shares Her Story
In January 2018, Brittany Robinson, 34, alleges she was sexually assaulted by a Lyft driver in her Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home. Robinson, a mother of five, is blind.
Robinson claims the Lyft driver — known only to her as “Christopher” — offered to help her shop and carry her groceries into her home. Robinson refused both offers, but the driver ignored her protests. After carrying her groceries into her home, the driver led her into her bedroom and raped her.
The driver defended himself, claiming the sexual activity was consensual. Citing a lack of proper evidence, law enforcement decided not to prosecute him.
Following Robinson’s report of the assault, Robinson says she received a call from a male representative at Lyft asking for details about the assault. According to Robinson, she felt uncomfortable relaying her experience to a male employee.
“It felt like I was being assaulted again.”
According to Robinson, Lyft sent her a follow-up email after the initial phone call. The email stated the company would cooperate with any legal proceedings if a subpoena or formal legal order was issued.
Lyft User Alison Turkos Shares Her Story
In 2017, Alison Turkos, now 32, alleges she was kidnapped and held at gunpoint by her Lyft driver, driven across state lines and raped by at least two men. She says Lyft responded to her report by charging her the original estimate of the ride.
Turkos said she reported the incident to Lyft, but the company representative did not believe Turkos’ claim. The company charged her credit card for $12.81. According to Turkos, Lyft did not remove the driver from the app, despite her allegations against him.
“…Lyft informed me that I would still be expected to pay for the original estimated cost of my ride and I would be “unpaired” from the driver in the future — I’d later learn he remained a Lyft driver.”
Lyft User Gladys Arce Shares Her Story
Gladys Arce, 40, alleges she was kidnapped by her Lyft driver in Los Angeles. Arce — a mother of four — requested a Lyft ride to her home after a Halloween party.
After entering the vehicle, Arce claims the driver locked the doors. Arce says the driver then drove her around for hours, professing his love for her and threatening her with violence. At one point in the ride, the driver took Arce to a beach and raped her.
Arce is one of 14 women who filed a lawsuit against Lyft in September 2019.
Sexual Assault Lawsuits Against Lyft
In the wake of sexual assault, victims are not only sharing their experiences, but they are also filing legal action. Dozens of victims across the country are filing lawsuits against Lyft. The latest wave of cases was filed in December 2019 with the Superior Court of San Francisco.
The plaintiffs in this lawsuit against Lyft make the following claims:
- Lyft failed to respond appropriately to reports of sexual assault committed by drivers or passengers. Lyft ignored or minimized the sexual assault claims filed by victims.
- Lyft failed to implement basic safety features to its app to protect users from future assaults.
“Lyft doesn’t even tell our clients who the driver is so they can get a temporary restraining order. What Lyft is doing on so many levels is done with the intent of silencing the victims and protecting their brand.”
Many of the victims also claim they discovered the company refused to provide information to law enforcement that would have been helpful to their investigations.
This may be just the beginning of litigation against Lyft. As more survivors of rideshare abuse share their stories, it is likely others will follow in their footsteps. More survivors may feel empowered to report their abuse and seek legal justice in the near future.
“I know I’m not alone. It should never be on the back of victims to fight to be believed and supported by a company that purports to put the safety of its customers first. Our job is not to fix Lyft; our job is to heal. But Lyft makes this impossible.”
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Cramer, M. (2019, December 5). 19 Women Sue Lyft as Sexual Assault Allegations Mount. The New York Times.
Filipovic, J. (2020, August 10). The Ride From Hell. Marie Claire.
Hawkins, A.J. (2019, September 17). Lyft hit with another horrifying sexual assault lawsuit. The Verge.
Lewis, S. (2019, September 5). 14 women file lawsuit against Lyft after drivers allegedly sexually assaulted them. CBS News.
Nadolny, T., Kelly, C. (2019, September 4). Rape, assault allegations mount against Lyft in what new suit calls ‘sexual predator crisis.’ USA Today.
Turkos, A. (2019, September 19). Why I’m Suing Lyft. The Medium.
Woods, A. (2019. September 5). Lyft is in the midst of a ‘sexual predator crisis’: riders’ lawsuit. The New York Post.