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Lyft president: It's 'incredibly important' for companies to do privacy right

  • In the wake of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's testimony on Capitol Hill, Lyft President John Zimmer chimed in on the subject of user privacy.
  • Speaking about Lyft's new subscription plans, Zimmer said the move was made in an attempt to "help change user behavior" by providing a full alternative to car ownership.
  • The company has seen large growth numbers over the last year.

In the wake of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's testimony on Capitol Hill, John Zimmer of Lyft chimed in on the subject of user privacy.

"I think within any company, user trust, and therefore user privacy, has to be a top priority," said the Lyft president.

Speaking to CNBC's Akiko Fujita on Wednesday at the New Economy Summit in Tokyo, Zimmer emphasized that user trust is paramount for companies.

"Companies today, because of technology, have the power to impact so many more people than companies ever did in the past," Zimmer said.

Saying that it is "incredibly important" for companies to get their privacy issues in order, Zimmer added that "there are repercussions" to not taking them seriously. Using Facebook as an example, Zimmer said the social media giant is addressing the problem because "they know that business will be affected if they don't."

While acknowledging that he didn't know if he was "the expert on how to regulate a company like Facebook," Zimmer said rules for the safekeeping and use of data would be welcomed by him and others.

Looking ahead

Speaking about Lyft's new subscription plans, Zimmer said the move was made in an attempt to "help change user behavior" by providing a full alternative to car ownership.

"It costs the average American household $9,000 every year to own an operative car," Zimmer said.

A known proponent of autonomous vehicles, Zimmer said that Lyft is aiming to create a "hybrid network" that has roles for both its drivers and its self-driving cars.

A Lyft Amp with driver and passenger on January 31, 2017 in San Francisco, California.
Kelly Sullivan | Getty Images
A Lyft Amp with driver and passenger on January 31, 2017 in San Francisco, California.

Having seen large growth numbers over the last year, Zimmer said Lyft's focus on North America has paid off, as its market share has grown from single digits a few years ago to "about 35 percent" in the U.S. today.

Asked if there were any pre-conditions before Lyft would seek a public listing, Zimmer replied that the company was currently focused on what the market will look like in a decade.

Despite Lyft and Uber only making up half a percent of miles traveled in the U.S. today, Zimmer said he was optimistic that the market is going to be "a lot bigger" in 10 years as ride sharing becomes the "majority of miles traveled" in the country.

"We'll go public when the time is right," he said.