Uber Says Thousands of London Drivers Threatened By English Language Test

Costas Pitas, writing for Reuters: Tens of thousands of London private hire drivers could lose their licenses due to new English reading and writing requirements, taxi app Uber said on Tuesday at the start of a court battle to halt the plans. San Francisco-based Uber, which allows users to book journeys at the touch of a button on their smartphone, has grown rapidly in recent years but faced bans and protests around the world as regulators play catch-up with technology disrupting traditional operators. Uber launched legal action in August after public body Transport for London (TfL) said that drivers should have to prove their ability to communicate in English, including to a standard of reading and writing which Uber says is too high. “It produces the profoundest of human effects. At one extreme it will lead to the loss of livelihood,” Uber’s lawyer Thomas de la Mare told the High Court in London. There are over 110,000 private hire drivers in the British capital, according to TfL but around 33,000 would fail to pass their renewal test due to the new language hurdle, de la Mare told the court, citing a calculation of data provided by TfL.

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