The following is taken from Transport for London’s website, and is not written by Hire Brid:
Why has TfL introduced an English language requirement?
As a public carriage office (PCO) driver in London it is important that you can communicate in English with your passengers. For example, you may need to discuss a fare or route with your passengers. There may also be occasions when you need to communicate with your passengers on a safety issue like the use of a seat belt or talk with them in an emergency situation.
It is also important that you can read and understand information provided to you by Transport for London (TfL), such as the conditions of your PCO driver’s licence or any notices given to you by our on-street Compliance Officers. You may also need to write to us, for example to let us know about changes in your health or any criminal convictions or perhaps communicate in writing with a passenger who has a hearing impairment.
We have introduced a requirement for every PCO driver to ensure that they have adequate English language skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening as we consider all of these skills are essential for you to carry out your role as a PHV driver in London.
What is the level of English I need to be able to communicate at?
The level of English that you need to have is the equivalent of the standard reached in the early years of secondary school. It means you can understand and deal with most situations likely to occur in the course of your job as a PCO driver. To help you understand what the required level is, attached to this guidance are some examples of the types of questions that you would need to answer if you do need to take a test.