TfL’s plans for London’s minicab drivers

12/2/14 Picture by Ashley Bingham. Picture taken for Kabbee.

Boris Johnson recently announced a crackdown on minicab drivers who are ‘unable to speak English properly’, and proposed that they must pass an English-language test before becoming licensed. 

Here’s the key highlights:

  • Minicab drivers in London may be forced to take English language tests under new proposals announced by Boris Johnson.
  • The Mayor of London wants TfL to initiate new rules to ensure that private hire cab drivers have a “certain basic level” of English.
  • The announcement was made after a London Assembly member had called for more to be done to stop illegal touting by unlicensed cab drivers and reduce any safety concerns that may come with ordering a minicab. It was mentioned that touts are “getting away with it all the time”.
  • Helen Chapman, TfL’s general manager of taxi and private hire, said the English language test was being examined as a possible way of improving minicab services for Londoners. She said: “There is currently no statutory requirement for private hire drivers to speak a specified level of English, although all drivers must undertake a map reading test conducted in English.”

Based on TfL’s proposal, Phil Makinson, Co-Founder and Chief Development Officer at Kabbee, shared his thoughts on behalf of Kabbee below:

“We wholeheartedly support any industry wide initiatives that will improve the quality of the sector, just as we support and provide technology and processes to ensure the lives and livelihoods of good drivers are improved. We are confident that drivers who cannot communicate or navigate well will not be performing Kabbee jobs. English tests and increased knowledge requirements would support what we are doing.”

He also spoke about the policy that Kabbee follows:

“Our general policy is to ensure that all drivers are licensed and we monitor every journey through the ratings systems to ensure passengers are happy. We do not currently apply specific languages tests, but should a driver (or fleet) receive poor ratings for any reason, which could include inability to communicate satisfactorily with a customer, Kabbee would not hesitate to remove that driver or fleet from our service. Kabbee is focused on quality and value and good communication is central to this; our guidelines to drivers include all aspects of dealing with customers including how and when to speak to customers to ensure the journey goes well.”

And on that note, rest assured that your cab journey will be of great quality when you book with Kabbee – safe travels!

The Kabbee Team

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