Uber hit with $7.3m fine by California court

<p>Taxi booking app refused to reveal business data in the US.</p>

Taxi booking app Uber has been fined $7.3 million (£4.6 million) in California for not giving regulators enough information about its operations. 

The fine was part of a ruling by an administrative law judge at the California Public Utilities Commission. This is the same regulatory agency that allowed Uber and its competitors to operate in the state under the condition that the companies report aspects of their activities.

The judge ruled that Uber had not filed all required reports, specifically about how often it provided disabled-accessible vehicles when requested and places where drivers were most likely to turn down ride requests. It was also accused of withholding details on accidents.

The company has defended its operations in the state by saying it has given enough data to the commission. The judge acknowledged that the company provided some of the contested information but said it was insufficient.

Uber to appeal

"Uber has already provided substantial amounts of data to the California Public Utilities Commission, information we have provided elsewhere with no complaints," spokeswoman Eva Behrend said in a statement. She added that submitting more detailed information could affect the privacy of passengers and drivers.

She called the ruling and fine "deeply disappointing" and said the company would appeal. The company has up to 30 days to appeal before its licence to operate in California is suspended.

Uber's app allows passengers to request rides from drivers in the area, and allows drivers to decline the request. Fares that are generally lower than those of traditional taxis.

It has been involved in legal battles around the world over its operations. The UberX service, which allows unlicensed drivers to offer rides in their own vehicles, was banned in countries such as Germany and Italy.

In a written statement, the utilities commission said Uber was the only company of its kind not to comply with the reporting requirements.

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