Uber has lost a high court battle to stop plans to introduce English language tests for private-hire minicab drivers.
Judge John Mitting has ruled in favour of Transport for London, who said that Uber and minicab drivers should have to prove their ability to communicate in English, The Guardian reports. However, the US company argued that the standard of reading and writing required by the test was too high.
Tom de la Mare QC, for Uber and the drivers, told the judge that the language test would lead to 70,000 applicants failing to obtain a licence over three years. He also argued that it would have an unfair impact on drivers from countries where English was rarely spoken, which Mare likened to "indirect discrimination on grounds of race and nationality".
Tom Elvidge, Uber's General Manager, said the court's decision was a "deeply disappointing". The company will now appeal against the ruling.
"We've always supported spoken English skills, but writing an essay has nothing to do with communicating with passengers or getting them safely from A to B," Elvidge added.
According to TfL, the new rule is needed to protect passenger safety and to raise standards, a view which has been supported by London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
"Drivers being able to speak English and understand information from passengers and licensing requirements is a vital part of ensuring passengers get the high standard of service they need and deserve," Khan said.
"TfL will of course look at the High Court judgment in detail to ensure all our policies fully comply."