A harrowing story out of California raises concerns once again over the safety of ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft after police say that a San Francisco area Lyft driver raped a passenger early Saturday morning after the 25-year-old victim passed out in his backseat after a night of drinking.
According to the Associated Press, the 46-year-old Tonye Kolokolo "took the woman to his residence without her permission and raped her." He is being charged with false imprisonment and rape.
A spokesperson for Lyft released a statement saying, "Safety is fundamental to Lyft. What is being described is terrifying and the driver’s access to Lyft has been permanently removed. We responded immediately and have reached out to the rider since the incident. We are working with the authorities and will continue to help in every way we can."
This case isn't the first that highlights the potential dangers of the app. Earlier in April of this year, a South Carolina college student was murdered after leaving a bar and getting in to the wrong car. She mistakenly believed it was her ride-share she requested and was brutally killed by the driver who kidnapped her. Likewise, CNN reports that more than 100 passengers have been sexually assaulted or raped by Uber drivers since 2014.
Just two weeks ago in Nebraska, a Lyft driver was arrested for sexually assaulting a passenger last May. Similar to the unnamed victim in California, the woman was leaving a bar in the early hours of the morning by herself. The driver then took advantage and attacked the defenseless woman.