In 2013, California became the first state to enact regulations for ride-sharing companies, which, in addition to Uber, includes Lyft, Sidecar, Instant Cab and Wingz.
Among other requirements, Uber must submit annual reports on how they are making their services more accessible for people with disabilities, including the number of requests for rides from people using wheelchairs and service animals, how many rides were completed and other pertinent information, according to the Los Angeles Times.
On July 15, an administrative judge with the California Public Utilities Commission, the agency that oversees privately owned public utilities, ruled that Uber should be fined $7.3 million for failing to provide this hard data.
In the decision, Judge Karen v. Klapton gave the San Francisco-based company 30 days to come into compliance, or be suspending from competing in the state.
Disability advocates, many of whom have been highly critical of the company’s accessibility efforts, applauded the decision.
“This industry has done everything it can to avoid, dismiss and coerce themselves out of regulation, and this decision is welcome from that standpoint,” Marilyn Golden, senior policy analyst at the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, told the Los Angeles Times. “They’ve been scofflaws. They take every advantage and avoid every requirement.”
Uber has no set policy requiring that any percentage or number of its vehicles be wheelchair accessible. Uber argues that it is not covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and is facing lawsuits from disability advocates in states across the nation.