Uber might be forced to test drivers’ English

Uber lost a court battle to stop a London regulator from imposing strict new English reading and writing standards on private hire drivers.

The move could mean the loss of thousands of workers.

The company took legal action in August after public body Transport for London (TfL) said that drivers should have to prove their ability to communicate in English, including to a standard of reading and writing which Uber said was too high.

Judge John Mitting said the TfL was entitled to require private hire drivers to demonstrate English language compliance.

Uber had cited Tfl data that the language rules could mean about 33,000 private hire drivers out of a total of 110,000 operating in London would fail to renew their licenses over the next few years.

TfL’s new rules were partly a response to protests from drivers of London’s famous black cabs, who are concerned that Uber’s over 30,000 drivers are undermining their business model by not meeting the same standards.

Uber’s General Manager in London Tom Elvidge said in a statement said that writing an essay has nothing to do with communicating with passengers or getting them safely from A to B.

“We intend to appeal this unfair and disproportionate new rule.”

Uber did manage to overturn two other TfL proposals for drivers to have permanent private hire insurance and that it should operate a 24/7 call centre.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan welcomed the court’s decision and said he was focused on better regulating the sector.
“From my first day at City Hall I have been determined to drive up standards and improve safety for every taxi and private hire passenger traveling in London,” he said.