Another week of problems for Uber
Uber has lost its legal test case in the High Court, London to stop strict new rules that requires their drivers to take English language tests.
Uber went to court in August 2016 because Transport for London (TfL) argued that drivers must demonstrate their ability to understand the English language with the ability to read and write. TfL are the regulators for all PHV licensing across London.
Uber’s argument was that the standard set for reading and writing was too high. The San Francisco firm has said that they will appeal again to the “unfair and disproportionate” ruling.
However, Judge Mitting said, “TfL are entitled to require private hire drivers to demonstrate English compliance.”
The High Court’s ruling will apply to all minicab and private hire companies across the capital, meaning all minicab drivers will have to take basic tests in reading and writing. However, Uber has said this is “indirect racial discrimination” and could threaten the livelihoods of 30,000 drivers across London.
Tom de la Mare QC, for Uber and drivers Hungarian national Sandor Balogh, Bulgarian Nikolay Dimitrov and Imran Khan from Pakistan, told the judge the language requirement would contribute to 70,000 applicants failing to obtain a licence over three years.
He also said, the changes involving insurance and setting up call centres for complaints would also likely lead to extra costs to private hire drivers running into millions of pounds.
With what TfL has proposed would have a disproportionate impact on drivers from non-English speaking countries and create “indirect discrimination on grounds of race and nationality.”
However, TfL’s proposals are to ensure the safety to the passengers and boost standards.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, told the BBC: “Drivers being able to speak English and understand information from passengers and licensing requirements is a vital part of ensuring passengers 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.”
Judge Mitting said:” he was satisfied TfL had shown that the safety, welfare and convenience of passengers could not be protected by any less restrictive means available to it.”
Even though Uber was refused permission to appeal, they can renew another application direct to the court of appeal.