Uber challenge forces TfL backdown over English language test

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Uber has Transport For London to delay its plans to force all drivers to pass English language tests, following a legal challenge. TfL has now postponed implementation of the requirement by six months.

The requirement for private hire drivers to pass a reading, writing and listening test was introduced last year, and was due to be enforced at the end of March. TfL has now pushed the deadline back to September following a legal challenge from Uber, which argues that the test is unnecessary and would put drivers out of work.

The requirement has also been opposed by the GMB Union as well as race equality groups. A judicial review is scheduled for later this month, with Uber arguing that the requirement breaks rules such as the Equality Act.

Uber claims the tests, which cost £200 for those that do not already have equivalent qualifications, are harder than the tests for British citizenship. TfL argues the tests are essential for public safety.

A TfL spokesman told reporters: “The English Language Requirement for private hire drivers is the subject of ongoing legal proceedings and we have decided to extend the time available for applicants to prove that they can communicate in English at the appropriate level to September 30, 2017.”