News: Uber said that new tests would make drivers jobless.
London transport authorities have backed new English language tests for private hire drivers, despite concerns raised by ride-hailing firm Uber.
The new rules will require private hire license applicants to pass an English language test, with the rules applicable to any person looking to renew or obtain a new licence.
The driving licence exam will test reading, writing and listening skills, in addition to spoken English.
The driving qualification will be referred to as the "B1" level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
The framework said that someone who clears the exam will possess the "ability to express oneself in a limited way in familiar situations and to deal in a general way with non-routine information.”
Uber said that the new rule requiring drivers to pass a written English exam would "threaten the livelihood of thousands of drivers".
However, the firm supported spoken English test for drivers.
Uber's general manager in London, Tom Elvidge, in an email to customers, has asked them to send objections to the new plans to the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan.
Uber was quoted by the Evening Standard as saying: “Uber has already invested £100m in London – and we plan to invest more. It’s why we support the new Mayor’s Keep London Open campaign.
“But bureaucratic new rules from Transport for London send the opposite message and threaten the livelihood of thousands of drivers.”
Elvidge said TfL's new regulations were “more stringent” compared to those imposed by the government on employees who communicate with the public as part of their job responsibilities.
TfL's general manager of taxi and private hire Helen Chapman said that it was “appropriate” move to stipulate an English language test for private hire drivers.
Chapman said that the transport body was "working to modernise and improve standards in London's private hire industry.”