San Francisco residents react as Uber faces $7.3M fine

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - A California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Administrative Law Judge ruled that if Uber doesn't comply with certain reporting requirements and pay the state a $7.3 million fine, its license will be suspended by this time next month.

Rules are rules, but some folks say the CPUC may simply be seeking good publicity and relief from cab and limo company pressure.     

The CPUC Law Judge ruled Uber failed to properly report three required sets of information – it was something that amused and angered a cab driver. "Two years later? I mean, this is not news. There (is) nothing new here. This is two or three years down the road. So, I don't know why they're even giving them 30 days," says Keith Raskin, a San Francisco taxicab driver.

The CPUC wants detailed data on customers who requested accessible vehicles that Uber was able and unable to serve. Presumably, on advice of counsel, Uber said it could not do an interview.

It referred KTVU to two of its website pages; one citing a two year old program called WAV, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles, and a new page called Uber Assist - a new button to the Uber app to summon a disabled services vehicle.

The CPUC also wants detailed data on rides accepted or not served in each zip code Uber serves.

One rider told KTVU, that's a fair question that should also be asked of taxi companies. "Well, cabs, sometimes you try to flag them down and sometimes they're busy, sometimes they don't pick you up, it all depends on what area you are in. Uber, they come right out. You know, they come out right where you're at," says John Mahone an Uber Rider.

Some oppose Uber on its employment practices. "If I need a taxi I'd rather take a real taxi that pay people fair wages and train them as a real job as opposed to the way Uber treats their people," says Jon Kaufman, usually a bus and taxi rider.

But, most folks KTVU met support Uber as an alternative, competitive choice. "It's convenient, quick, you can use your GPS to see where they are and it's hard to find a cab in San Francisco," says Kiley Frasier, a frequent Uber rider.

Even the cab driver, hard hit by Uber competition, sees the CPUC's move as self-serving PR in light of the San Bruno explosion and the PG&E conflicts of interest scandal. "I know Peevey didn't leave the office looking too good. So yeah, they have some make up business to take care of," says Raskin.