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California regulator fines Uber millions of dollars

July 16, 2015, 12:21 AM UTC
The Hamptons Lure Uber Top Drivers Amid NYC Slow Summer Weekends
Th Uber Technologies Inc. car service application (app) is displayed for a photograph on an Apple Inc. iPhone in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014. For San Francisco-based Uber Technologies Inc. which recently raised $1.2 billion of investors' financing at $17 billion valuation, New York is its biggest by revenue among the 150 cities in which it operates across 42 countries. The Hamptons are a pop-up market for high-end season weekends where the average trip is three time that of an average trip in New York City. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Victor J. Blue — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Uber’s legal department continues to stay busy.

The California Public Utilities Commission, a regulatory agency that oversees California privately owned public utilities as well as ride-sharing services, fined the ride hailing app $7.3 million Wednesday.

The agency said that Uber failed to comply with state laws requiring it to report certain operational data including the number of customers who requested vehicles that can accommodate the disabled. Additionally, the agency accused Uber of failing to adequately report the cause of driving accidents and other incidents involving its drivers, and the number of rides that drivers requested and accepted.

The CPUC said that reporting requirement’s goal is to ensure that ride-sharing companies, like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar, don’t discriminate, and that they are safe for the public to use. Of the multiple ride-sharing companies the agency regulates, the CPUC claimed that Uber was the only one that failed to comply with the reporting requirements.

The agency said that Uber had a year to do so.

Uber has thirty days to pay a $7.3 million penalty to the California Public Utilities Commission and adhere to the reporting requirements. If the company fails to do so, the CPUC can suspend its operating license in California.

An Uber spokesperson said in an email: “This rulingand the associated fineare deeply disappointing. We will appeal the decision as Uber has already provided substantial amounts of data to the California Public Utilities Commission, information we have provided elsewhere with no complaints.”

Uber disputes the idea that following through with the CPUC’s reporting rules will improve public safety, and that providing the agency with more data than it already has sent over “further risks compromising the privacy of individual riders as well as driver-partners,” the spokesperson wrote.

If Uber appeals the decision, an administrative law judge will review the case and decide whether to change the ruling or follow through with the penalty.

The news comes just one day after Uber reached a tentative settlement with the family of a six-year-old girl who died after being hit by an Uber driver in San Francisco. Earlier this month, Uber filed a motion against a class-action lawsuit that argues that Uber’s contract drivers should be classified as employees.

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