08:11, February 28 419 0 theguardian.com

2017-02-28 08:11:04
Uber v TfL: court hears written English test will cost 33,000 drivers their jobs

A plan to force London minicab drivers to pass written English tests would put nearly a third of them out of business, the ride-hailing app Uber has argued.

In a high court battle with Transport for London, lawyers for Uber said the transport body’s estimates suggest 33,000 drivers would either fail the test or be deterred from trying to renew their licence.

TfL, which licenses nearly 118,000 minicab drivers, wants all applicants for a new, or renewed, private hire licence to pass the test by 31 September.

The test, which involves writing a short essay, would not apply to black cab drivers.

Uber said 33,000 drivers (28%) of those who currently hold a licence would lose their livelihood over three years.

Thomas de la Mare QC, representing Uber, told the hearing on Tuesday the requirement was “manifestly disproportionate” and would unfairly penalise drivers who had sufficient English to pass their driving test and read road signs but not to pass a written exam.

He said the lack of complaints about Uber drivers’ written English meant the issue was “the dog that did not bark”.

The case continues.