Uber loses law test case over communication – BBC News

Image copyright Getty Images

Uber has lost its attempt to prevent its operators being forced to take English conversation tests.

The ride-hailing app was just going tribunal after Transport for London( TfL) said that motorists should have to prove their ability to communicate in English.

Uber was contended that the standard of reading and writing required by the test was too high.

The US firm said the test was “unfair and disproportionate” and it would petition against the court’s decision.

The ruling will also apply to all minicab houses in London.

“TfL are entitled to require private hire motorists to illustrate English speech conformity, ” replied Judge John Mitting as he rejected Uber’s claim.

Tom de la Mare QC, for Uber and the drivers, told the judge that its own language requirement would result in 70,000 applicants failing to obtain a licence over three years.

The recommendations would have a disproportionate impact on motorists from countries where English was not generally addrest and give rise to “indirect discrimination on dirts of hasten and nationality”.

TfL was contended that the requirements were vital to ensure fare safety and to promote standards.


Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, spoke: “Drivers being able to speak English and understand information from passengers and licensing requirements is a vital part of ensuring fares get the high standard of service they need and deserve.

“TfL will of course look at the High Court judgment in detail to ensure all our policies fully comply.”

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Black cab drivers protest against Uber in London in late January

Sam Dumitriu, head of projects at the Adam Smith Institute, a conservative think tank, criticised the ruling.

“These measures is not simply expensive but excess, and will do little to improve public security. We’ve already been London taxi motorists of 20 years or more struggling with paper questions about the Aurora Borealis and snowboarding, do we need them to have read Shakespeare too? ” he said.

“There’s clearly no public interest here, merely the interests of the vocal Black Cab Lobby. Sadiq Khan should listen to motorists and scrap them.”

Uber said the judge ruled in favour of the proposal on three other points, including not having to open a UK-based bellow centre.

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