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Lyft adds driver profiles to make everyone feel safer

The ride-sharing industry has come under fire for issues involving rider and driver safety. In response to those concerns, Lyft is adding user profiles to its app.

The addition of profiles marks an effort by Lyft to not only humanize both the rider and driver, but also to give people some additional information about their travel buddy. Once the profiles go live next week — first for iOS, with Android on its heels — users will be able to fill out a little bit about themselves. This includes hometown, favorite music, and other assorted facts that may serve as a conversation piece. Users will also have a more open-ended mini biography that they can fill in with whatever information they please.

For drivers, additional information will also accompany these little quirky facts. Data such as driver score and number of rides given will be displayed on the profile.

Related: Uber establishes ‘global response teams’ to protect riders and drivers

The idea of Lyft’s new profile system — which, it should be noted, is totally optional — is to help people connect. Lyft wants to create a conversation between its users and not have the interaction as cold as hailing a cab.

As an extension of this idea, Lyft is also including Facebook integration. Users can connect their Facebook accounts with their Lyft profiles. Should the rider and driver have a mutual friend in common, Lyft will alert both sides that they have a connection.

Lyft’s launch of profile marks “a big step toward our vision of reconnecting people and communities through better transportation,” according to the company’s announcement post. It’s also a step toward providing familiarity between users in an industry that otherwise has very little. Instead of riding with a stranger, Lyft aims to create the effect of hitching a lift with a friend.