Friday, March 03, 2017

Uber loses High Court case to block English language tests for migrant drivers

Uber has been defeated in the High Court in a legal bid to prevent their drivers being required to take an English language test in order to work in London.

Driverless cars are already here

The multi-billion dollar tech giant, which does not own any taxis despite controlling millions of journeys, took its case to court after Transport for London (TfL) said that drivers should have to sit a test in order to demonstrate their ability to communicate in English.

Uber’s lawyers argued that the TFL standard of reading and writing required by the test was excessive claiming it was "unfair and disproportionate" and will appeal against the court's decision.

Rejecting Uber's claim, Judge John Mitting said:

"TfL are entitled to require private hire drivers to demonstrate English language compliance".
However, Tom de la Mare QC, for Uber and the drivers, told the judge that the language requirement would result in 70,000 applicants, including mini cab drivers, failing to obtain a licence over three years.

He added that the proposals would have a disproportionate impact on drivers from countries where English was not generally spoken and give rise to "indirect discrimination on grounds of race and nationality".

TfL maintain that the requirements were vital to ensure passenger safety and to raise standards.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, defended Tfl:

"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”.

Drivers should be more concerned about Uber's bigger plans to eventually dispense with the need for drivers altogether. The company is already tested self-driving cars with Volvo driverless cars on in a Pittsburgh based trial.


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