Credit: Ad Meskens/Wikipedia

Uber's California fine flashes a hazard warning for the start-up

The taxi hailing app take a $7m fine in California, in the latest sign that governments might put the brakes on its expansion.

by Adam Gale
Last Updated: 29 Jul 2015

The taxi-hailing app Uber has hit another pothole on the road to global domination. A judge in its home state of California just fined it $7.3m (£5.2m) for failing to file reports on accidents, disabled access, and the places where drivers tend to decline rides.

This isn’t just something Uber can swipe away like a bug on a windscreen. Providing such information about its business is a condition of its license to operate there. Unsurprisingly, the combative firm is going 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, adding that the result was ‘deeply disappointing’.

Of course, this isn’t a lone incident. Look what’s happening in France, where authorities arrested two Uber executives over ‘illegal exercise of the taxi profession’ and judges are deciding whether to ban it altogether.

Uber is appealing there too, but the fact is that it faces opposition from more than just irate black cab drivers and indignant luddites. Of course France is France, and no one is talking about banning it in California, so Uber perhaps won’t be too worried yet.

Fines like this are a reminder, however, that despite Uber’s rapid acceleration, it could still find itself on a collision course with the law if it can’t convince governments that it’s playing by the rules.

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