Language has become the latest battleground for regulators looking to monitor the slow creep of ride-sharing and driver-hire platforms like Uber.
One of the separations between an Uber and taxi driver is how easy it is to work for the former and how tough it can be for the latter. Taxi drivers have to jump through various hoops and pay a lot of money to acquire a license, whereas Uber drivers simply have to sign up to a service.
Cities around the world have been working on regulations to address the balance. The thought it to meet somewhere in the middle, make the process of obtaining a license less restrictive for taxi drivers and stricter for Uber drivers. For example, in Canada, many municipalities are now demanding Uber drivers submit personal records, undergo vehicle checks, and have proper insurance coverage.
Of course, Uber protests these regulations as draconian. That is a natural response considering the company has built itself on allowing anyone to sign up and drive for it. It’s not that easy for authorities though, who must see the bigger picture and make sure drivers are qualified to be behind the wheel.
The latest stipulation is that Uber drivers speak English. Actually, this is limited to London in the UK, which drafted the law recently. As an English speaking nation, the city is demanding that all Uber drivers take a language test. This stipulation could gain popularity around the world, adapted for whatever native language is spoken depending the nation.
Uber has reacted angrily to the law:
“We support spoken English skills, but this exam is harder than the test for British citizenship,” wrote Alana Saltzman, Uber UK and Ireland spokesperson, in an emailed response to Yahoo Canada Finance.