An administrative judge recommended Wednesday that the ride-sharing giant Uber should be suspended from the state of California and fined upwards of $7.3 million, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Chief Administrative Law Judge Karen V. Clopton argued that Uber has not adequately complied with state laws that mandate fares for all passengers, regardless of location or nationality.
For months, Uber has refused to provide the state with fare data required by California ride-sharing laws. Clopton argues that the refusal to provide such data is sufficient enough to recommend an immediate suspension from all operations in the state until Uber meets outstanding requirements.
The judge’s order would not be enforced until after an appeals process.
California state mandates require Uber to disclose information for the time and date of each trip, the route covered and the fare that was charged. In addition, the state requires that ride-sharing companies disclose how many ride requests its drivers accepted and completed for passengers with wheelchairs or service animals.
A spokesperson for the California Public Utilities Commission Constance Gordon told the LA Times that Uber has been given multiple opportunities to supply the state with required information but has refused to do so.
“They had a year to comply with these regulations, and didn’t do it,” she said.
In a statement, an Uber spokeswoman Eva Behrend contended the decision, calling the ruling “deeply disappointing.”
“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,” Behrend said.
“Going further risks compromising the privacy of individual riders as well as driver-partners.”
UCLA Lewis Center and Institute of Transportation Studies Associate Director Juan Matute believes that it is in the best interest of the company to pay the fine and comply with the requirement. While $7.3 million in fines amounts to less than 1 percent of the company’s estimated $50 billion value, a suspension could mean a serious hit to Uber’s California revenue stream.
“It’s not a market they would want to jeopardize their existence in over not handing over some spreadsheets,” he said.