Uber, the leading taxi-hailing app, lost a legal fight in the U.K., which requires private drivers to meet strict English reading and writing standards.
According to a report, in August Uber got into a legal fight with the Transport for London after the government agency said drivers should be required to show they can communicate in English to a standard which Uber contended was too high. Late last week a High Court judge dismissed Uber’s argument.
“TfL are entitled to require private hire drivers to demonstrate English language compliance,” Judge John Mitting said, according to the report. Uber had argued that the English reading and writing rules could result in 33,000 of the 110,000 drivers in London not able to renew their licenses over the course of the coming years. Black cabs in London had protested Uber, expressing concerns that Uber’s drivers were hurting their business model because they didn’t have to meet the same standards, the report stated.
“Writing an essay has nothing to do with communicating with passengers or getting them safely from A to B,” Uber’s General Manager in London Tom Elvidge said in a statement. “We intend to appeal this unfair and disproportionate new rule.”
It wasn’t a complete loss for Uber: the court did throw out two TfL ideas, which would require drivers to have private hire insurance, and that the company should operate a 24/7 call center. This isn’t the first run-in Uber has had with regulators in the U.K. In October, a U.K. employment tribunal ruled Uber drivers are workers instead of self-employed contractors. According to a report at the time, the ruling meant workers of the gig economy, at least in the case of Uber, get holiday pay, paid rest breaks and the national minimum wage. Uber, noted the report, plans to appeal the ruling.