Transport for London defer introduction of written English language test for private hire vehicle drivers

Transport for London defer introduction of written English language test for private hire vehicle drivers

Announcement follows pressure from British Dyslexia Association and industry for a dyslexia friendly approach.

Today, Transport for London (TfL) has announced that written English language tests for drivers of private hire vehicles, which were due to come into effect from April this year, have been deferred until September 2020. TfL have committed to working with the British Dyslexia Association to develop a test that will not unfairly discriminate against dyslexic drivers. The announcement follows a long-running campaign by the British Dyslexia Association and organisations that represent drivers of private hire vehicles.

The proposed test – which is intended to ensure all drivers could verbally communicate with passengers on topics like route, safety and fares – was set to include a requirement for drivers to submit a written letter to demonstrate their English language proficiency. Assessing a driver’s verbal English language skills through a written test would discriminate against the thousands of excellent drivers of private hire vehicles that have dyslexia. The result would likely have been many thousands of people with dyslexia losing their livelihood for no good reason.

Sue Flohr, Policy Manager, British Dyslexia Association, said:

“Today’s announcement follows years of worry by dyslexic drivers of private hire vehicles that they would be out of a job because their dyslexia would mean their written English language skills wouldn’t be up to TfL’s standards. These are excellent drivers, who are easily able to converse with passengers in English and make a valuable contribution to our capital. There is not one good reason why their ability to write a letter is relevant to their work.

“We look forward to working with TfL over the coming month to develop a test that assesses drivers’ ability to talk with passengers in English in an appropriate way. A verbal test.”

Following this announcement, the British Dyslexia Association will work closely with TfL, drivers and industry bodies to develop a test that is administered verbally and is not discriminatory towards drivers with dyslexia.