Today Lyft has announced two items for the ridesharing company's deaf or hard of hearing drivers, as well as a new partnership with the National Association of the Deaf... Partnership. Now instead of having to rely on an audio indicator for ride requests, drivers can get a visual indicator with Lyft's Amp in-car communication device. Passengers will also be notified if a driver is deaf or hard of hearing, and be given the option to communicate via text rather than phone.
Most rideshare companies don't really seem to treat their not-actually-employees very well, so it's good that Lyft is taking some steps to increase comfort for theirs. The new Passenger Notifications feature also ensures that the driver is able to respond to the same sort of questions that other drivers can. They can also communicate in the event of a problem or delay with pickup as well as at the end of a ride, if required. Uber has been having some difficulty themselves with accommodating people adequately, though they have had similar tools for the hard of hearing for a year now.
With the new tools like the Amp visual indicator on the dash, deaf and hard of hearing drivers will be able to grab fares much more safely and more quickly than they were able to before. Not being able to hear notifications for available rides must be exceedingly annoying for drivers with hearing difficulty, and the communication barrier must have been confusing and difficult to explain to riders before the recent changes. Now all passengers will have to worry about is how long it takes to get there.
At least one rideshare company understands that it's better to treat your drivers well, as opposed to trying to get users to tip them with stickers. Until recently Uber drivers weren't even able to see exactly where fares were waiting. With Lyft's attention to expanding the tools available to drivers maybe Uber could stand asking them for a bit of advice on how to treat them. That is, at least until they finally finish replacing them all with robots.
Previously to get the Amp for their dash a driver had to complete 250 rides in a city that is cleared to use the device and then request one, but it could be that special exemption might exist with the recent news for those with trouble hearing. If you haven't seen or heard of it before (since we didn't cover it) feel free to check out what exactly the Amp is below. Accompanied, of course, by the sweet and dulcet boops of YACHT. I love this song.