Uber Technologies Inc. has agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle a complaint with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, a fraction of the amount the ride-sharing company had initially been fined.
The PUC, by a 4-1 vote, on Thursday approved the penalty to settle Uber’s Commonwealth Court appeal of a record $11.4 million fine the commission imposed last year for operating illegally. Two PUC administrative law judges had recommended a $49.9 million fine against the company for providing 122,998 rides in Pennsylvania without prior approval and obstructing a state probe into its operations.
Commissioner John F. Coleman Jr. dissented, saying the settlement was “too low” to punish Uber for open defiance of the PUC’s authority. But Commissioner Robert F. Powelson, who voted for the settlement, said that Uber’s actions caused no harm to consumers, and that even $3.5 million was “disproportionately high” compared to other PUC-imposed fines.
Chair Gladys M. Brown also made a statement, calling the settlement a "fair and just" way to discontinue the litigation.
The fine is payable to the state's general fund.