A fine recommended by a California administrative law judge last summer from the California Public Utilities Commission is being levied upon Uber, we learn today. As the LA Times reports, while Uber will be appealing the PUC's decision much as they've appealed the multiple judgements against them this past year on various fronts, the company will cough up the $7.6 million for the fine in order to avoid a 30-day suspension of their operating license in California.
At issue is the company's past failure to report certain data to the commission during the business year 2014, data that it was required to report in its role as, essentially, a taxi service. Uber previously argued that reporting such data might compromise the privacy of its drivers.
As Consumerist clarifies, the judge found that Uber had failed to report 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
Lyft, reportedly, has already complied with these regulatory requirements, but Uber appealed the judge's decision last August and was met with a revised judgement that raised the fine to $7.6 million.
Per the LAT, "The PUC says driver data is necessary to determine whether or not Uber is serving all manner of passengers in any neighborhood."
Of course Uber has done a lot to contend that it is not a taxi company, but is a software company, and has therefore tried to skirt the regulatory requirements that taxi companies have long faced.
It still remains to be seen, also, if Uber's business model of keeping all drivers as independent contractors will pass muster in California, or face a major class-action settlement.