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Uber Fined $7.3 Million for Not Reporting California Accessibility Data

The ride-hailing company plans to appeal.

The California Public Utilities Commission slapped Uber with a $7.3 million fine for failing to provide information on how many requests it receives for accessible vehicles.

Uber has 30 days to pay the fine or lose its operating license in California. Uber said it will appeal the decision and there will be no suspension during the appeal process.

Besides accessibility issues, the CPUC also demanded to know a variety of information about the trips Uber provides: The cause of accidents involving Uber drivers; the number of rides given per ZIP code; the number of rides requested but not accepted; how much passengers pay for their trips; and the percentage of times Uber was able to meet requests for accessible vehicles. Uber was willing to give some anonymized trip information to the CPUC, but balked at providing specific details like driver names.

At the time the CPUC asked for the accessibility information, Uber didn’t have that option in the app so it didn’t have any data to report. The ride-share company says it has since added a way for disabled passengers to request accessible rides.

“Uber has already provided substantial amounts of data to the California Public Utilities Commission, information we have provided elsewhere with no complaints,” the company said in a statement to Re/code. “Going further risks compromising the privacy of individual riders as well as driver-partners. These CPUC requests are also beyond the remit of the commission and will not improve public safety.”

The CPUC, which regulates ride-hailing companies in California, explained why it requested that information from Uber: “In adopting these reporting requirements, the CPUC intended to gather information necessary to its oversight of TNCs [transportation network company] on behalf of the riding public: whether TNC services are being provided in a nondiscriminatory manner enabling equal access to all, and whether TNC services are being provided in a manner that promotes public safety.”

The CPUC gave all ride-hailing companies, including Sidecar and Lyft, one year, with a deadline of September 2014, to meet the demands. Uber was the only company to miss the deadline, the commission said.

Uber has been accused on numerous occasions of ignoring government requests for data. After the New York Taxi & Limousine Tribunal shut down most of Uber’s bases, it eventually caved to the Tribunal’s demands for driver vehicle license plate numbers and data on where trips start and end. Around that time, Uber announced its plans to provide cities with more anonymized information about its trips, to help them plan future transit routes and services.

Apparently that data doesn’t involve disability access information. Uber is fighting several lawsuits in California and Texas about the way it treats disabled passengers. Some blind people have been refused by Uber drivers because they have service dogs, and those with wheelchairs don’t have a way of requesting accessible vehicles through the app.

This article originally appeared on

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