Uber has again pulled a business move that has garnered controversy, this time by suspending drivers who elected to follow state law rather than company demands. In California, individuals who drive for hire are required to register their cars as commercial vehicles rather than personal ones. Some drivers complied with that requirement, but were give the boot by Uber, which told the drivers they must switch over to personal registration to get their driving privileges back. At least 12 drivers were suspended.
The information comes from BuzzFeed, which says the details come from both interviews and records. California has been diligent in pushing for drivers to properly register their cars, going so far as to issue a memo in early January reminding drivers that they must register their vehicles as commercial if they’re driving for hire.
This puts Uber and California’s DMV at odds — California requires the commercial registration even if the driver only occasionally uses their car for hire and for personal reasons otherwise. Drivers who fail to properly register their vehicles face both tickets and potential prosecution.
Uber has said in emails to temporarily suspended drivers that they cannot driver under UberX if their vehicles have commercial registration. Likewise, those who get Uber financing are also being required to register their vehicles as personal cars. Despite state law, some drivers are electing to revert their registration to personal from commercial.
In a statement to BuzzFeed, Uber said: “It is not our policy to deactivate driver partners who wish to register their vehicles as commercial.”