Transport for London has further delayed the deadline for mini cab drivers to sit an English language test pending the outcome of a legal challenge by Uber.
In March the app-based cab service lost a High Court challenge against rules requiring every mini cab driver in the capital to sit a £200 English test, but has since been given permission to take its case to the Court of Appeal where its concerns will be heard anew.
The firm says it backs calls for drivers to be able to clearly communicate with passengers but argues the standards proposed by TfL, which regulates private hire drivers and services, exceed what’s necessary to achieve this.
Last month TfL announced it would delay the deadline for drivers to sit and pass a test until 9 April 2018 but has today advised the GMB union, which represents Private Hire and Taxi drivers, that this date has now been pushed back until July 16th.
We have been advised by TFL that the deadline on English Language Tests has now been moved to July 16 2018. We will provide further updates.
— GMB Pro Drivers (@GMBProDrivers) July 26, 2017
Tom Elvidge, General Manager of Uber in London, said: “We’re pleased to have secured this appeal to defend tens of thousands of drivers who risk losing their livelihoods because they can’t pass an essay writing test.
“While we’ve always supported spoken English skills, writing an essay has nothing to do with communicating with passengers or getting them safely from A to B.”
A Transport for London spokesperson commented: “As the English language requirement for private hire drivers is subject to legal proceedings, we have extended the deadline to meet the requirement to 16 July 2018.
“We maintain that all licensed drivers must be able to communicate in English at an appropriate level.
“This is vital for passenger safety and was supported by the High Court. We will continue to robustly defend this position at the appeal.”