Rideshare service Lyft has managed to avoid many of the high-profile public relations disasters of its larger competitor Uber, generally eluding terrible headlines while Uber has experienced a nonstop parade of recent scandals not limited to their CEO being busted chewing out a driver, all manner of regulatory fiascoes with self-driving cars, and of course the alleged toxic culture of sexual harassment thing. But Lyft may have a rift here in San Francisco with the local drag community, as noted Bay Area drag personality Queen Dilly Dally claims that Lyft drivers are discriminating against her by refusing her rides when she’s in full drag. This is ironic, because Queen Dilly Dally has previously been hired by Lyft to ride their company float in full drag for Pride parade festivities.
To be fair, Queen Dilly Dally rode as the “queen” of the Lyft float at last year’s Boston Pride festivities, not SF Pride. Being the queen of a Lyft float is not an official title, but it is a paid gig to represent the company at Pride. And it is unusual if Lyft drivers are declining rides to her because she’s in drag, considering that Lyft gave Queen Dilly Dally a gig to appear in drag on behalf of the company at a Pride event.
“The the last couple of months, March and April 2017, I had multiple Lyft drivers drive right by me,” Queen Dilly Dally wrote in her complaint, which was obtained by SFist. “There is no option other than to cancel the ride so I can request another. But there is also no option to say the driver did not pick me up, so I, the innocent party, must pay the cancellation fee.”
“It strikes me as ironic that these companies ask our community of drag queens to represent them during the Pride season, yet the rest of the year we are not picked up safely due to their drivers’ own decisions,” she continued. “If Lyft drivers commuting in from Sacramento or San Jose cannot deal with our community, they should not be coming to work in this city.”
Lyft acknowledged receiving the complaint and insists they are investigating the incident. “No one using our service should ever feel discriminated against because of who they are,” Lyft said in a statement to SFist. “What is being described by the passenger in this case is completely inappropriate and against our values as a company, and we take that very seriously. We have reached out to the passenger to work with them to identify these past incidents so they can be investigated and appropriate action taken. We have also refunded any cancellation fees incurred in the past few months while we work with the passenger to investigate these incidents. We ask anyone facing discrimination of any kind to report those incidents to our critical response line so they can be properly investigated.”
Queen Dilly Dally says it’s been an ongoing issue that Lyft drivers are canceling her rides upon sight of her. “My first experience with not being picked up by Lyft drivers was for Pride of 2015,” she said in her complaint. “My Lyft driver pulled up slowly, saw me and drove off. Okay, fine.I canceled the ride and requested another, and the same thing happened.”
Lyft notes that they also investigated a prior incident reported by this rider. The company underscores that driver discrimination against riders for any reason is grounds for dismissal from the platform, and highlights their anti-discrimination policy.
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