Uber has lost its legal challenge against Transport for London’s introduction of a written English test for private hire drivers.
It has been estimated that the test could see tens of thousands or people barred from working as private hire drivers or deterred from applying for licences.
London mayor Sadiq Khan said: ‘Drivers being able to speak English and understand information from passengers and licensing requirements is a vital part of ensuring passengers get the high standard of service they need and deserve. This could include discussing a better route, talking about a medical condition, or ensuring every driver is fully up to date with new regulations.
‘TfL will of course look at the High Court judgement in detail to ensure all our policies fully comply, as we continue to work to improve standards and passenger safety across London’s private hire and taxi services.’
During the hearing, counsel for ride-hailing app Uber quoted TfL's own figures in support of a claim that the test would see London losing up to 70,000 drivers, including those who would be deterred from applying.
Uber said it would appeal against the decision, which its London general manager, Tom Elvidge, called a ‘deeply disappointing outcome for tens of thousands of drivers who will lose their livelihoods because they cannot pass an essay writing test’.
‘We’ve always supported spoken English skills, but writing an essay has nothing to do with communicating with passengers or getting them safely from A to B.’