Uber has lost its attempt to prevent its drivers being forced to take English language tests.The ride-hailing app went to court in August last year after Transport for London (TfL) said that drivers should have to prove their ability to communicate in English.
Uber argued that the standard of reading and writing required by the test was too high.The US firm said it would appeal the "unfair and disproportionate" new rule. The ruling will also apply to all minicab firms in London.
"TfL are entitled to require private hire drivers to demonstrate English language compliance," said Judge John Mitting as he rejected Uber's claim.
Tom de la Mare QC, for Uber and the drivers - Hungarian national Sandor Balogh, Bulgarian Nikolay Dimitrov, and Imran Khan from Pakistan - told the judge that the language requirement would result in 70,000 applicants failing to obtain a licence over three years.
The changes, involving insurance and the provision of call centre facilities, were also likely to lead to additional costs for private hire operators running into millions of pounds, he said.
The proposals would have a disproportionate impact on drivers from countries where English was not generally spoken and give rise to "indirect discrimination on grounds of race and nationality".TfL argued that the requirements were vital to ensure passenger safety and to raise standards.