The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan’s plan to instigate a ruling that all minicab drivers in London, must take a written English test has been voted out by City Hall.
A transport spokeswoman for Labour said the cost was “unfair” which could threaten the livelihoods of thousands of drivers.
Transport for London (TfL) the capitals regulator for PHV driver’s requirements are quite straightforward, drivers must complete a spoken test along with a written essay in order to be granted a licence. This takes effect from September this year at a cost of £180.
The Mayor praised the move saying this test is a “vital part” of driving standards along with improving safety in London.
The Mayor was sked to drop this test and instead favour the verbal English test, as opponents are claiming it will lead to indirect racial discrimination. Most mincab drivers are immigrants and it is said this could put 300,000 jobs at risk. However, the London Assembly asked the Mayor to favour the English verbal test instead.
They added, “This is an unfair cost, especially for drivers that may have lived in the UK all of their lives.”
Florence Eshalomi of Labour said: “It is of course vital that taxi drivers can communicate with their passengers in English.”
“However, the estimated £300 to take the test seems a disproportionate cost… In addition, every time a driver isn’t on the road they are losing pay.
“It’s time for the Mayor to look into other options – what we don’t want to see is people losing their livelihoods.”
The General Manager of Uber London, Tom Elvidge said: “We’ve always supported spoken English skills, but writing an essay has nothing to do with communicating with passengers.
“With Transport for London estimating more than 33,000 private hire drivers will lose their livelihoods we hope the Mayor will think again. This new rule is unfair, discriminatory and unnecessary. Let’s keep London open.”
However, a spokesman for London’s Mayor said: “Drivers being able to speak English is a vital part of ensuring passengers get the high standard of service they need and deserve.
“This could include discussing a better route or talking about a medical condition, but also includes written considerations like understanding new regulations, licensing requirements or changes to the law.