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Posted on August 11, 2016 by staff

Uber: Thousands could lose jobs due to TfL proposals

Uber has warned that new rules requiring private hire drivers to pass an English test could “threaten the livelihood of thousands of drivers”.

Transport for London will require from October 1 that licence applicants from countries where English is not the primary language earn a £200 qualification.

Early drafts of the proposal suggested that only proficiency in spoken English would be required, but the final version requires an intermediate language qualification which includes reading, writing and listening skills.

Taxi disrupter Uber supports the need for a spoken exam but not the more comprehensive qualification.

Its London general manager Tom Elvidge said in an email to users: “Fewer drivers will mean longer waiting times or no cars when you need them most.”

He urged them to write to London Mayor Sadiq Khan and said the new rules were more stringent than the British citizenship test.

“Uber has already invested £100m in London – and we plan to invest more. It’s why we support the new Mayor’s Keep London Open campaign,” the email continued.

“But bureaucratic new rules from Transport for London send the opposite message and threaten the livelihood of thousands of drivers.

“As he says, everyone should have the chance to succeed – whatever their background. Let’s keep London open.”

TfL’s general manager of taxi and private hire Helen Chapman defended the proposals.

“We are working to modernise and improve standards in London’s private hire industry,” she said.

“The proposal for an English language requirement was supported by 80 per cent of the 20,000 respondents in our recent consultation, suggesting very strong public support.

“We think that it’s appropriate for this requirement to apply to private hire drivers, who will often be responsible for transporting vulnerable passengers and is in line with Home Office intentions for customer facing public sector workers.”