California Penalizes Uber $7.3 Million, Says Service Should Be Suspended

After allegedly failing to provide the state with information about its drivers and whether the company was treating customers fairly, an administrative law judge for the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) says that Uber should pay a $7.3 million fine and face suspension of its operating license in the state.

A 2013 decision [PDF] by the CPUC created certain reporting requirements for “New Online Enabled Transportation Services” or “Transportation Network Companies” like Uber and Lyft. Failure to comply with these rules could result in hefty fines.

The CPUC has been looking into whether Uber has lived up to its obligations under those rules and yesterday, an administrative law judge decided [PDF] that the company had not provided three important pieces of information:

Accessibility information: the number and percentage of customers who requested accessible vehicles, and how often [Uber] was able to comply with requests for accessible vehicles…

Service information: the number of rides requested and accepted by [Uber] drivers within each zip code where [Uber] operates, and the number of rides that were requested but not accepted; as well as the amounts paid/donated…

Driver safety information: the cause of each driving incident involving a [Uber] driver

Uber did provide some information for each of these three requirements, but the CPUC says that it all fell short.

For example, rather than provide the state with actual data about its accessible vehicles and related requests for these vehicles, CPUC claims that Uber only “provided a narrative of their efforts to date for accommodating visually impaired, persons with service animals, and persons requiring a wheelchair accessible vehicle.”

And rather than provide raw data about accepted/denied requests by serviced ZIP codes, CPUC says Uber provided Excel files with information given in “aggregates, averages, and percentages.”

As for the required data about driver-involved incidents, CPUC notes that Uber did not provide information regarding causes of incidents and amount paid, if any, by any party other than the Uber’s insurance.

Uber has 30 days to pay up or appeal, which the company says it will do.

“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,” a company rep tells the L.A. Times. “Going further risks compromising the privacy of individual riders as well as driver-partners.”

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