English Language Requirement for PHV Drivers (3)

MQT on 2017-01-18
Session date: 
January 18, 2017
Question By: 
Florence Eshalomi
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


TfL's March 2015 consultation document said, "Concerns have been raised that some London PHV drivers do not have a sufficiently high standard of English to enable them to communicate with their customers". Can you expand on what concerns were raised, how many concerns were raised and what TfL did to authenticate the concerns?


Answer for English Language Requirement for PHV Drivers (3)

Answer for English Language Requirement for PHV Drivers (3)

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Concerns were initially raised with TfL by both taxi and private hire trade representatives that drivers were being licensed with very poor English language ability.

In order to understand the public view of this issue before considering making any changes, TfL consulted extensively on an English language requirement. The consultation received strong support for this proposal and TfL carried out qualitative and quantitative research on key questions in the consultation, including the English language requirement, in order to further support the decision-making process around the proposed regulatory changes.

A GLA survey carried out in autumn 2015 found that, of 869 respondents (96.3 per cent of whom identified themselves as being members of the public, rather than taxi or private hire drivers), 86 per cent agreed that drivers should be required to demonstrate proficiency in English. Qualitative research carried out for TfL by the research company 2CV during the same period found that a lack of English was often mentioned unprompted as a problem area with private hire vehicles that affected people's ability to feel they could travel comfortably and safely.

The results of this research is available as an appendix to the TfL board paper of 17 March at: http://content.tfl.gov.uk/board-160317-item09-private-hire-reg-review.pdf.

It is essential for public safety that all licensed drivers can communicate in English at an appropriate level. Communicating with passengers to discuss a route, or fare, as well as reading, understanding and being able to respond to important regulatory, safety and travel information sent by TfL is crucial to a driver's role in transporting the public.