Ride-service juggernaut Uber is facing a $7.3 million fine for refusing to give California regulators information about its business practices, including accident details and how accessible vehicles are to disabled riders.
The fine, levied against Rasier-CA, a subsidiary of Uber Technologies that operates the UberX ride service, was part of a ruling by an administrative law judge at the California Public Utilities Commission. The agency granted Uber and competitors like Lyft formal permission to operate in 2013, but required them to report certain data on their operations.
In Wednesday's ruling, Administrative Law Judge Karen V. Clopton found Rasier-CA in contempt of the the agency's reporting requirement. Her decision gives Rasier 30 days to pay the penalty and comply with reporting requirements or see its operating license in California suspended.
Clopton agreed with utility commission staff who said Uber has not filed all required reports, specifically about how often it provided disabled-accessible vehicles when requested, places where drivers tend to turn down ride requests, and the causes of accidents.
Uber had argued that it provided sufficient information to the commission. The judge acknowledged that Uber provided some information but said it was not enough.
In a written statement, Uber spokeswoman Eva Behrend called the ruling and fine "deeply disappointing" and said the company would appeal.
"Uber has already provided substantial amounts of data to the California Public Utilities Commission, information we have provided elsewhere with no complaints," Behrend wrote, adding that submitting more detailed information could affect the privacy of passengers and drivers.
Uber has previously tussled with public officials. In Portland, Oregon, for example it had an extended disagreement with the city that led it to suspend operations. In France, Uber suspended its low-cost service following an escalating legal dispute and sometimes-violent tensions with traditional French taxi drivers. French authorities had ordered the service — called UberPop — shut down, but Uber refused, pending a legal decision at a top French court.