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London requires English Language Test for Uber Drivers

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Uber is facing new trouble in Europe. This time, Public Transport Body for London (TfL) wants to require Uber drivers pass an English language test among other regulations that it originally intended to implement Oct. 1st.

However, Uber has now won the right to take TfL to court in order to challenge these possible new regulations.

As Fair Languages reported Uber took a different path in other markets, namely Colombia and Brazil, since it has partnered with language startup Duolingo in order to allow customers to exclusively request English-speaking Uber drivers.

The new service is called UberEnglish and customers can now directly request a Duolingo certified English-speaking driver via the Uber app in both countries. Through the partnership Uber has outsourced the individual interview process to test whether a driver is capable of communicating in English. According to Duolingo, more than 1,000 drivers have opted to learn English and take the test in Colombia, and more than 1,400 drivers have already signed up in Rio.

Although Uber said that is was in favor of its drivers mastery of basic English language skills, it maintains that current requirement in London were too rigorous.

For now, Uber drivers don’t have to undergo any testing, may it be geographical or for language skills.

Uber is arguing that the proposed new regulations would threaten the livelihoods of thousands of its drivers. But there is no doubt that there has been a massive surge of private-hire drivers in London these past 18 months, and the black cab drivers argue exactly the same: Uber is threatening their livelihoods with its untrained drivers that often have little to no geographical knowledge or the required English language skills to drive in London on a professional basis.

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Picture by Mohammad Abdullah via Flickr

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Kirsten Winkler

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at EDUKWEST
Kirsten Winkler is the founder and editor of EDUKWEST.

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