Pennsylvania’s utility regulators voted on June 9 to reconsider the record-setting $11.4 million fine they imposed on ride-hailing company Uber.
The Public Utility Commission fined San Francisco-based Uber in April for operating in Pennsylvania for six months in 2014 without the required approval. Uber contends the amount of the fine is unreasonable.
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and Pittsburgh-area officials have asked the commission to greatly reduce the fine, saying it could discourage innovative companies from investing in Pennsylvania. They noted Uber has picked Pittsburgh as its world headquarters for advanced technology research and for testing self-driven vehicles.
The commission voted on June 9 to conduct a rehearing of the matter.
Uber has argued that it successfully filled a void in the state’s transportation infrastructure. It wants the fine recalculated using the number of days it violated state authority, not the number of trips it provided.
The commission, which regulates buses and taxis in all counties except Philadelphia, approved a fine considerably lower than the $50 million recommended by a pair of administrative law judges in November, but it’s still the largest in commission history. The fine also far surpasses the $250,000 fine issued to Uber’s main competitor, Lyft, for similar violations.
Uber employs private drivers who use their own cars to give people rides. The commission said it had concerns because there was no uniform way to ensure vehicle safety or to determine whose insurance would cover damages in an accident.
The commission has since granted Uber and Lyft temporary operating licenses everywhere but Philadelphia, which is out of its jurisdiction.
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