A California Public Utilities Commission administrative law judge in San Francisco today recommended a $7.3 million fine for an Uber subsidiary for failing to report required information about the ride-for-hire company.
The subsidiary, Rasier-CA LLC, operates the company’s UberX service in California, which enables passengers to use smartphone applications to hire drivers to give them rides in their private cars.
Administrative Law Judge Robert Mason also recommended a 30-day suspension of Rasier’s operations in California unless the company complies fully with the requirements and pays the fine.
The annual reporting requirements were part of a September 2013 order in which the commission began regulating ride-service companies, which it calls transportation network companies.
Mason wrote in a 96-page decision that Rasier-CA provided some information, but failed to comply fully with requirements for reports in three areas.
The areas were the number of accidents and violations by drivers and the amount of insurance or other compensation paid; the number of rides requested within each zip code and how many were accepted or rejected; and the number of requests for accessible vehicles by wheelchair users and blind people with service dogs, and how many of those requests were accepted.
“Rasier-CA had the ability all along to comply with (the) reporting requirements…yet declined to do so by interposing a series of unsound legal arguments and objections,” Mason wrote.
The decision can be appealed to the five-member commission, and Uber said it will do so. The commission can accept, modify or reject the proposed ruling and any penalties it accepts won’t go into effect until the commission’s final action.
Uber spokeswoman Eva Behrend said in a statement “This ruling — and the associated fine — are deeply disappointing. We will appeal the decision.”
Behrend said the San Francisco-based company had already given substantial amounts of data and said, “Going further risks compromising the privacy of individual riders as well as driver-partners.”
CPUC spokeswoman Terri Prosper said Uber is the only company that failed to comply with the requirements for reporting due in September 2014 for the first year in which the transportation network companies were under CPUC regulation.
Julia Cheever, Bay City News