Do you think London taxi drivers should speak English?
It may seem a strange question to ask when London could be regarded as the centre of the English speaking world.
Yet many London drivers don’t speak English very well, especially Uber drivers. Some of them can hardly speak English at all. Not great when you want to go somewhere in a hurry!
Transport for London (TfL) now wants all London licensed private hire drivers to take an English test if their English doesn’t meet the required standard.
TfL says: “It is essential for public safety that all licensed private hire drivers are able to communicate in English at an appropriate level. Drivers need to be able to communicate with passengers to discuss a route or fare, as well as read, understand and respond to important regulatory, safety and travel information sent by TfL.”
Not surprisingly, Uber doesn’t agree. It says the test is discriminatory against drivers who do not come from an English speaking country.
I think Uber is wrong. Surely it’s sensible that all licensed private hire drivers learn to speak an appropirate level of English to be able to communicate reasonably well with their passengers.
In fact anyone doing a job which requires communication skills in English needs to make sure they have enough English to be able to understand, and be understood, in the workplace.
If you are non-native English speaker and you need to improve your English, I can help.
For information on the TfL English test, click here.
For information on Uber’s legal challenge, click here.