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Uber in English test legal challenge with London authorities

Uber Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Uber is seeking a judicial review over Transport for London's new rules

Uber has launched a legal challenge against new rules in London that require thousands of its drivers to pass a test in English.

Transport for London (TfL) wants all private-hire drivers not from English-speaking countries to prove their language skills from October.

The exam will also test reading, writing and listening skills.

Uber is also challenging rules requiring it to inform TfL of any upcoming changes to its app.

"This legal action is very much a last resort," said Tom Elvidge, general manager of Uber London.

"We're particularly disappointed that, after a lengthy consultation process with Transport for London, the goalposts have moved at the last minute and new rules are now being introduced that will be bad for both drivers and tech companies like Uber."

'Robustly defend'

Uber initially supported an English-speaking and listening test, but now says TfL has changed the requirements so that drivers have to provide a certificate showing they have an intermediate level of writing and reading. Uber says this is unnecessary and costly.

It has more than 30,000 drivers in London and estimates thousands would be affected by the change.

It is also challenging the requirement that all private-hire companies must have an customer call centre within London that passengers are able to ring during a ride. Uber's is based in Ireland.

TfL confirmed it has received a letter from Uber warning of the legal challenge.

In a statement, it said: "We responded to Uber's letter and will be robustly defending the legal proceedings brought by them in relation to the changes to private-hire regulations."

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