UK: Uber drivers ‘will be forced by court order to take basic English test’
VO-CAB TEST Uber drivers ‘will be forced to take basic English test’ as firm loses High Court battle with TfL to block new rule
The controversial TfL ruling proposes drivers without a minimum GCSE in English will need to take a test to work
By ELLIE FLYNN 3rd March 2017, 11:15 am Updated: 3rd March 2017, 1:36 pm
UBER drivers could be forced to take English language tests after the private hire firm lost a High Court bid to block the new rule.
The controversial TfL ruling proposes drivers without a minimum GCSE in English will need to take a test to work.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he is “delighted” the High Court rejected Uber’s bid.
The company launched a legal challenge alongside three individually licensed drivers.
Tom de la Mare QC, acting for Uber, argues 70,000 applicants would fail to obtain a licence under the new ruling.
The court also heard 33,000 drivers would lose their jobs over three years if the new rule came into place.
Critics suggest the test is “unrealistic” and will lead to discrimination.
However TfL says it is necessary for customer safety and public protection.
Peter Blake, Transport for London’s Director of Service Operations, said: “The judgment today means that we can ensure that all licensed drivers have the right level of English, which is vital for customer safety.
“The court also recognised the need for passengers to be able to contact the private hire company they’re using should an emergency arise. We will reflect on today’s judgment and consider how best to deliver the further improvements we want to see to passenger safety and to standards across the industry.”
They originally only wanted to test people from countries where English is not the primary language, but this was blocked in court as discriminatory.
In a statement, TfL said: “The changes to regulation of the private hire industry being challenged in this case are vital, to ensure passenger safety and to raise standards. We continue to robustly defend this claim.”
Uber has said it will appeal the decision at the Court of Appeal.
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