By Stan Bush
DENVER (CBS4) – Uber is being forced to pay $8.9 million in fines for failing to properly check driver’s backgrounds in Colorado.
The fine, ordered by the Public Utilities Commission, comes after Uber was ordered to surrender records of driver’s backgrounds that were cleared by a third party.
“We were originally told we didn’t have the authority to ask for that we kept pushing, and said ‘yes we do, and we are going to fine you for every day that you don’t give us those records,'” said Doug Dean, director of the PUC.
Records found about 100 drivers who should not have been cleared to drive. Their crimes included assault, fraud, DUI, and other violations.
“This error affected a small number of drivers, and we immediately took corrective action,” the company said in a statement.
Uber’s business model has been a bomb in the transportation industry – utterly changing the landscape for taxi companies in small to medium-sized cities like Denver.
“It’s a very small part of the unlevel playing field is the background checks,” said Sean McBride with Metro Taxi.
Taxi companies say since the outbreak of Uber, they have had to realign their business to find steady demand. Some operators say they’re surprised by the amount Uber was fined, but not shocked they were fined at all.