United States

I-Team: NYC Woman Gets Attacked by Other Passengers in Ride Share, Then Banned by Company

A New York City woman says she was attacked by another passenger in a Lyft Line and says the ride share company has not been helpful in apprehending her attacker.

Josephine Cruz, a law school graduate, had ordered a Lyft Line -- which means the driver can pick up other passengers along the way -- on her way to the Barclays Center to watch a UFC fight on April 7. 

In Brooklyn, two men got into the car, and "immediately, one of them started to roll a blunt," recounted Cruz.  "So I grew very concerned and I didn't want to be affiliated with that."

After Cruz told the driver, she said the passenger began cursing her out. Their war of words escalated until Cruz says one of the passengers punched her in the eye.

"He must have hit me at least three, four, five times,” said Cruz. “Mostly in that eye."

Cruz, trained in mixed martial arts, began to defend herself.

"I kept thinking in my mind, 'Don’t let him hit you again, don’t let him hit you again,'" she said. 

The driver finally stopped the car on Kingston Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Before the passenger fled, Cruz said he hit her one more time.

When police arrived to take a report, both the officer and Cruz asked the Lyft driver for the passengers' information, but he would not tell them, saying he was not allowed to do that. 

Under Lyft’s policy, which is similar to other rideshare companies, drivers are not allowed to release information on passengers, even to the authorities. The NYPD says they must subpoena this information.

"They can’t even start the investigation before getting a subpoena," said Brad Gerstman, Cruz’s attorney.

The NYPD says they are trying to get information on Cruz’s attacker through the subpoena process, but that it could take a while to complete.

More than a month after Cruz was attacked, police say they have not yet received the details on her attacker.

"In real life, owners of a business step up. They tell police and explain what happened, but you’ve got the opposite here," said Gerstman. "They’re blocking the police from doing their jobs to protect the citizens of New York."

Adding insult to injury, Cruz learned she is banned from using Lyft ever again. A Lyft representative told her in an email, that "there are two sides to every story" and that "the decision to deactivate your account will remain final." 

A Lyft spokesperson told the I-team in a statement, "These allegations are extremely concerning. From day one, the safety of the Lyft community has been our top priority. We have deactivated both passengers while we investigate, and have reached out to the investigating officer to offer our assistance." 

Cruz says she may never use a rideshare service again, but she hopes Lyft can share the passenger information with police soon, while she can still remember the face of her assailant.

"When I have those dreams, I see his face very clearly, so I’m confident I would be able to identify him in a line up," she said.  

Contact Us