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Around 30,000 private hire drivers fail to provide English Language Requirement evidence say TfL

Updated: Oct 3, 2021

Approximately 30,000 private hire drivers in the capital have failed to submit evidence as part of new English language speaking, listening and writing requirements now in force.

Transport for London’s (TfL) General Manager for Taxis and Private Hire, Graham Robinson, spoke at yesterday’s LPHCA Road Show event at Heathrow explaining how the English Language Requirements will work and what drivers will be affected.

TfL will first review all the evidence that has been recorded prior to 1 October 2021.

At this point private hire drivers licensed in the capital do not need to take any action. Instead licensees will be contacted to confirm whether the evidence has been accepted or not. If not, TfL will then confirm what assessment the licensee needs to sit and by when.

An appointment would then be made in due course, along with preparation time provided.

According to TfL sources approximately 30,000 minicab driver have failed to provide any evidence at this point. The regulator is set to contact those drivers as a priority to ensure they undertake both the Speaking and Listening tests, and safety, equality and regulatory ‘SERU’ tests.

Private hire representatives welcomed the announcement this summer that private hire drivers yet to pass an English speaking, writing or listening test would not have their licences revoked when the new licensing policy is introduced.

A spokesperson from Licensed Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA), welcomed the news in August saying in a statement: “We are delighted that this pragmatic outcome after nearly 5-years of campaigning brings in a new process that will in our view be far more fit for purpose.“

According to sources, the regulators will use new training modules to confirm whether an applicant is proficient at reading and writing English at the level required.

A further 15-20 minute ‘conversational’ test would follow to assess the would-be driver’s ability to listen to and speak English.

A GMB Union spokesperson said via social media: “GMBs five year campaign for changes to the TfL English Language test has resulted in a new oral and written test module being available from October of this year.

“The trade bodies pushed hard on this.

“TfL and The Mayors office have through our representations now made change for good.”


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