Pennsylvania PUC says Lyft should improve safety procedures

Stacy Wescoe//October 9, 2020

Pennsylvania PUC says Lyft should improve safety procedures

Stacy Wescoe//October 9, 2020

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission is calling on Lyft to strengthen background checks on its drivers.

The PUC recently reviewed the ride-share company’s background check process and raised concerns about its failure to provide data and document policies. The PUC audit was assessing the effectiveness of Lyft’s hiring, background checks and quality assurance programs.

It looked as such things as the driver sign-up process, background checks, performance evaluation, the complain process and methods to ensure compliance with Pennsylvania laws and regulations.

The report includes seven major recommendations for improvements related to background checks and rider safety.

In several of the areas, auditors noted Lyft’s inability to, or refusal to, provide specific data, including information on its policies on background checks and its overall onboarding process.

The PUC said Lyft should:

  • Enhance both its background checks and ongoing criminal monitoring;
  • Better document operating policies and procedures; and
  • Develop a partnership with others in the transportation industry to build a database to flag users that have been terminated because of serious safety issues.

It also said Lyft should track the cause of all driver deactivations and maintain a database of them.

The PUCs said the company should make improvements to its app’s safety features and use the latest technology to improve the information in the complaint investigation process and create and track performance metrics and establish goals for each of them.

In November 2016, Governor Wolf signed Act 164 of 2016, providing for permanent statewide authority for Transportation Network Companies – or TNCs – often referred to by the public as ride-hailing or ride-sharing services.

Prior to passage of that legislation, the PUC had granted temporary experimental authority for several TNCs to operate, while encouraging the development of a permanent regulatory framework to address consumer safety.

The PUC  released a report on the driver background check process used by Uber in Pennsylvania in March of last year.

Lyft responded to the report.

“We are grateful to the PUC for their partnership on this report. Throughout the Audit, Lyft provided the Commission with information about our background check process, general operations, driver onboarding, and Safety team. The Commission also met with multiple subject matter experts at Lyft. We have responded to each of their recommendations in our Implementation Plan.”