Uber urges Transport for London to drop language test for drivers

The fast-expanding private car hire app Uber has urged Transport for London (TfL) to abandon a requirement for drivers to pass a written English exam. However, TfL has responded by saying the changes are being introduced to “raise standards in London’s private hire industry, improving safety and convenience for customers.”

From 1 October, anyone from a non-English-speaking country who applies to TfL for a private car hire licence or to renew an existing licence will have to prove that they have passed an exam in English.

Initial proposals called for proficiency only in spoken English, but updated plans from TfL include a requirement to pass a two-hour written exam as well, which will cost £200 to sit.

Uber also wants TfL to reconsider plans to force drivers to hold “hire and reward” commercial insurance all year round, even if they only work during set periods such as school term times. It also wants the transport body to reconsider requirements, already in force, that say “operators must inform TfL of any changes to the operating model of their business before they are made”.

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