English language learning

English speaking not writing should be private hire test

08 March 2017

Transport for London’s (TfL) English Language Requirement Test could cost drivers over £300, when taking into account the day’s pay a driver will lose while taking the test.  Other licensing authorities across the UK are testing an applicant’s spoken English by using a test which costs only £25.

The London Assembly today agreed a motion calling on the Mayor to replace any requirement for Private Hire drivers to pass a written English test with a requirement to pass the £25 verbal test.

 

Florence Eshalomi AM, who proposed the motion said:

“It is of course vital that taxi drivers can communicate with their passengers in English. However the estimated £300 to take the test seems a disproportionate cost, especially when you bear in mind drivers will soon be required to pass an advance driving test at costing £149. In addition, every time a driver isn’t on the road they are losing pay.

There are other tests which could be used that cost just £25. It’s time for the Mayor to look into other options – what we don’t want to see is people losing their livelihoods.”

     

The full text of the Motion is:

“This Assembly notes the concern of many Private Hire Drivers about the cost of meeting TfL’s English Language Requirement. TfL’s English Test could cost drivers over £300, when taking into account the day’s pay a driver will lose while taking the test. Furthermore, TfL will soon require private hire drivers to pass an advanced driving test which will cost an additional £149.

This is an unfair cost, especially for drivers that may have lived in the UK all of their lives. This Assembly notes that other licensing authorities across the UK are testing an applicant’s spoken English by using a test which costs only £25.

This Assembly agrees that all Private Hire Drivers should speak English to an acceptable level but the test is not a proportionate response. We therefore call on the Mayor to replace any requirement for Private Hire drivers to pass a written English test with a requirement to pass the £25 verbal test which is already successfully used by other UK licensing authorities.”

Notes to editors

  1. Watch the full webcast
  2. The motion was agreed by 15 votes for, to 0 votes against.
  3. Florence Eshalomi AM, who proposed the motion, is available for interviews. Please see contact details below. 
  4. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Alison Bell on 020 7983 4428.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officerNon-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.