Transport for London is shrugging off Uber's complaint about compulsory English tests for drivers

Black Cab Uber protest in LondonGuy Bell/REX ShutterstockBlack cab drivers strike against Uber in London.

Transport for London (TfL) is standing by its decision to enforce regulations that will require Uber drivers to pass a written English test, the BBC reports.

Under the new legislation, which comes into play on October 1, Uber drivers will have to pass a written English test before they are awarded their private hire licence which they need to in order to legally drive for Uber in London.

Tom Elvidge, Uber London’s general manager, emailed Uber users in the capital on Monday saying this could result in thousands of Uber drivers losing their jobs. He asked them to write to London Mayor Sadiq Khan and ask him to look again at TfL’s plans.

TfL initially said that Uber drivers would only have to pass an English speaking test but it recently updated the criteria to include an English written test, and that’s what Uber is taking issue with.

Helen Chapman, TfL’s general manager of taxi and private hire, reportedly said that TfL was “working to modernise and improve standards in London’s private hire industry”. She also reportedly said it was “appropriate” for an English language requirement to apply to private hire drivers.

According to the BBC, a TfL spokesman said black cab drivers are presumed to have a much higher proficiency of English than private hire drivers because they have passed the “Knowledge” exam, which is a geographical test that black cab drivers must take to show they’re able to navigate London without a satellite navigation device.

Elvidge added: “Bureaucratic new rules from Transport for London send the opposite message and threaten the livelihood of thousands of drivers. Fewer drivers will mean longer waiting times or no cars when you need them most.”

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