LONDON (Reuters) - London's transport bosses said on Monday that all drivers of private hire vehicles must speak, listen to, read and write English to a set level, intensifying a battle with taxi app Uber [UBER.UL] which says the expected standard is too high.
Earlier this year, the capital's transport authority said it would introduce the measure as part of a series of stricter rules on apps such as Uber and private hire firms like Addison Lee whilst supporting the city's iconic black cabs.
The move prompted San Francisco-based Uber, which allows users to book journeys on their smartphone, to take legal action arguing that the written component was too demanding.
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But on Monday, regulator Transport for London (TfL) said drivers will have to take either an English proficiency test or provide proof, such as a British school qualification, that they can meet the required level.
"Drivers must be able to communicate with passengers to discuss a route, or fare, as well as reading and understanding important regulatory, safety and travel information," TfL said in a statement.
A hearing in the case brought by Uber, whose investors include Goldman Sachs and Alphabet Inc unit GV, formerly known as Google Ventures, is due in December. A spokesman said on Monday:
"We’ve always supported spoken English skills, but passing a written English exam has nothing to do with communicating with passengers or getting them safely from A to B... Transport for London should think again and scrap these unnecessary new rules."
(Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Stephen Addison)