TfL gives taxi drivers another six months to prove English skills


The GMB union has claimed a ‘victory for common sense’ after Transport for London (TfL) put back a deadline for taxi drivers to prove they have adequate English skills.

The union said TfL’s announcement that it would put back to September a deadline for drivers to prove they have a GCSE or equivalent qualification would provide time to find a better solution.

A taxi rank in London

Drivers originally had until the end of March to produce a certificate – or face a day-long language test costing a £180.

The GMB said the plan had caused outrage, particularly with drivers who were born and raised in the UK.

Steve Garelick, GMB's professional drivers’ secretary, said: ‘This represents a victory for GMB and a victory for common sense.

‘TfL’s plan to force drivers to shell out for £180 to prove they can speak English was misguided at best. Now, following our campaign, drivers have some breathing space while we find a more sensible way forward than this foolish test.’

TfL said its English Language Requirement is the subject of ongoing legal proceedings and confirmed that it has decided to extend the time available for drivers to prove that they can communicate in English at the appropriate level to 30 September 2017.

It says it is essential for public safety that all licensed private hire drivers are able to communicate in English at an appropriate level as drivers need to be able to communicate with passengers to discuss a route or fare, as well as read, understand and respond to important regulatory, safety and travel information sent by TfL.

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