The Court of Appeal is to begin discussing the controversial Transport for London English Tests for Private Hire drivers.
A campaign by the Licensed Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA) and the GMB Union has been successful in its early stages as TfL announces it has delayed the introduction of the tests until April 2018.
A spokesperson from the LPHCA commented; “Like many other interested groups, including representatives of disabled drivers, we wholly reject the current test levels set by Transport for London as arbitrary and excessive. The test itself, we maintain, is simply not fit for purpose.
“It imposes unnecessary costs and time consuming burdens. This is potentially, in our opinion, discriminatory, unreasonable and disproportionate. Comparatively, we note, other Transport for London regulated modes of transport are not subject to undertaking such obligations.”
President of the GMB Professional Drivers’ arm, Simon Rush commented; “There’s an uneasy feeling of uncertainty of where we stand as private hire drivers, and at the moment we need more support than ever to make sure we keep our jobs. This plan needs to be abandoned and started again with a new proposal to include grandfather rights for current drivers and an oral test for new drivers.
He added; “The Mayor needs to come back with a more straightforward and less expensive test and plan that will be acceptable to our members.
“It’s time for the London Mayor to get involved and deal with this increasing mess.”
A protest outside City Hall in December 2016 saw members of the trade displaying placards, banners and flags outlining the issues and then entering the building to fill up the Assembly Chamber to protest against the tests.
The English Test would require those applying for a Private Hire license to undergo an English language test to prove their abilities and submit the qualification to TfL. Drivers would be allowed to provide a copy of previously obtained exam certificate demonstrating English language proficiency.
If they can’t locate one, a driver would need to contact their exam board to obtain a copy or, if their exam board no longer exists, they would need to commence a likely minimum eight-week process to try and get hold of a copy from the AQA.