Lyft, the newly public ride-hailing company, announced Monday (April 15) two new initiatives aimed at increasing the safety and security of its platform.
In a blog post, Lyft said it is rolling out continuous background checks and enhanced identity verification. All Lyft drivers will have to pass a criminal background check that includes running their Social Security number as well as conducting a nationwide criminal search, a country court records search, a federal criminal search and a U.S. Department of Justice 50-state sex offender registry search. In order to remain on the platform, the driver must pass additional background checks at least once a year.
Lyft also said its background check process now includes continuous criminal monitoring, which enables the company to monitor all of its active drivers on a daily basis and receive an immediate notification of any criminal convictions that would disqualify them. Any driver who doesn’t pass the annual and continuous screenings will not be able to drive for Lyft.
“By expanding its screening solutions through two of the top background check companies in the country, Lyft is further enhancing its ability to detect criminal activity and providing an additional level of safety across the platform,” Lyft said in the blog post.
For enhanced identity verification, Lyft will now combine driver’s license verification and photographic identity verification. Potentially fraudulent drivers will be required to provide evidence they are carrying the proper driver’s license, as well as a real-time photo of their face.
“Fraud is an issue that many industries and companies face each day, but it is rare at Lyft,” the company wrote. “We continuously move quickly and decisively to permanently ban these individuals from our platform, and accelerate the launch of anti-fraud measures already in development.”
Separately, Lyft has canceled service for its electric bikes in New York City, Washington D.C. and San Francisco after issues were reported by some riders who had trouble with the brakes. In a statement on the Citi Bike website, the company said it "recently received a small number of reports from riders who experienced stronger than expected braking force on the front wheel. Out of an abundance of caution, we are proactively removing the pedal-assist bikes from service for the time being. We know this is disappointing to the many people who love the current experience – but reliability and safety come first." The company said it plans to bring a new pedal-assist bike to the market soon, which will be accessible via a QR code.