Uber is concerned thousands of drivers in London will lose their jobs if they're forced to pass an English test

Uber wants Transport for London (TfL) to ditch plans that will force Uber drivers to pass a £200 written English exam.

Updated proposals from Transport for London mean that as of October 1, anyone from a non-English speaking country applying to TfL for a private car hire licence will have to provide evidence that they have passed a written English exam.

Uber London general manager Tom Elvidge emailed Uber users on Monday to let them know about the proposed changes, saying they could put thousands of drivers out of work.

“Uber has already invested £100m in London – and we plan to invest even more in the future,” wrote Elvidge.

“But 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.”

Elvidge wants Uber users to write to London Mayor Sadiq Khan and ask him to look again at TfL’s plans.

The email from Elvidge contains a link that users can click to bring up a pre-drafted email to the Mayor. This is what it says:

Dear Mayor,

I agree with you that it’s vital London remains open and that everybody has the chance to succeed, whatever their background.

However, I’m concerned that new rules from Transport for London will threaten the livelihoods of thousands of licensed private hire drivers in our city.

Forcing all drivers from non-English speaking countries to pass a £200 two-hour written English exam goes way beyond what’s needed to help Londoners get from A to B.

Making part-time drivers pay for costly commercial insurance in the months when they’re not working is also unnecessary and could force some to give up driving for a living.

Nor does it make any sense for TfL to demand to be told before Uber makes changes to its app.

Please look again at TfL’s plans. Let’s keep London open.

Thank you,


Uber hasn’t had an easy ride in London, with TfL and the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association questioning whether its smartphone app is breaking the law by acting as an illegal taxi metre.

Thousands of black cab drivers caused grid lock on some of London’s busiest streets when they protested against the San Francisco taxi-hailing company on multiple occasions.

On the proposed changes to private hire regulation webpage, TfL writes: “These changes are being introduced to raise standards in London’s private hire industry, improving safety and convenience for customers.”

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