California Fines Uber Company $7.6 Million

SACRAMENTO (CN) – California fined an Uber subsidiary $7.6 million for delaying responses to requests for safety information and other data, and fined it another $1,000 for contempt.
     The California Public Utilities Commission ruled unanimously Thursday that Raiser-CA, an Uber subsidiary that operates through UberX, did not fully and timely comply with the commission’s reporting requirements.
     Its license to operate in the state will be suspended after 30 days if the contempt fine and $7.6 million penalty has not been paid. Uber, which is valued at $62 billion, said it will pay the fine.
     The PUC added $300,000 to the $7.3 million fine issued last July by an administrative judge, who recommended that the company also be suspended from operating in California for failure to report driver data.
     Uber appealed, leading to a modified decision being released this week recommending the higher penalty plus the contempt fine. The increase was based on Raiser’s failure to comply with reporting requirements in July and August after the initial fine was levied.
     “While we are disappointed by the decision, we look forward to making our case to the California Court of Appeals,” Uber said in a statement. “In the meantime, we will pay the fine and continue to work in good faith with the commission.”
     California, the first state in the nation to adopt regulations for transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft, requires the companies to submit annual reports with data on things such as collisions and driver training and safety. The companies also must provide pickup information to make sure that they are serving riders with disabilities and people in low-income communities.
     “In adopting these reporting requirements, the CPUC intended to gather information necessary to its oversight of TNCs on behalf of the riding public: whether TNC services are being provided in a non-discriminatory manner enabling equal access to all, and whether TNC services are being provided in a manner that promotes public safety,” the commission said in a statement.
     Although the data is not publicly available, the PUC released a glimpse of it in November, revealing a steady month-to-month growth of ride service companies, and indications that collisions and incidents involving ride service drivers are climbing.
     The PUC’s Thursday decision was based on Raiser’s failure to fully and timely provide information on the number of customers who requested accessible vehicles, the number of rides requested and accepted by drivers within each zone, and the cause of each driving incident involving a company driver.

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