BORIS JOHNSON

Boris Johnson | LBC

Uber cab drivers in London will have to pass a language and ‘Knowledge’ style test before driving in the nation’s capital, Boris Johnson revealed tonight.

Speaking at the his final State of London debate before stepping down as Mayor next year, the Tory MP said he “disapproved” of how Uber operates.

The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association has repeatedly called on Transport For London (TFL) to place the same restrictions on Uber which it places on the capital’s black cabs.

 At the Indigo hall in London’s O2, Mr Johnson praised the “Rolls Royce service” provided by black cabs, and said: “It is not fair that a black taxi driver has to spend four years getting the Knowledge and somebody else can just cruise in and take up the trade without really knowing how London works and how it all fits together. TFL are currently consulting on a proper geographical test so you can’t drive a mini cab in London unless you know one end of the city from the other.

LBC radio’s Nick Ferrari, who was hosting the event on behalf of the station, asked: “Like a Knowledge for Uber drivers?”

Mr Johnson replied: “There would have to basic geographical knowledge. Point two, there would have to be basic English, basic command of the English language. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable thing.

Mr Ferrari asked: “How are you going to test Uber drivers and others knowledge of London?”

Mr Johnson said: “We will do it in the same way we do for black cabs. It wont be like the Knowledge because I think it is important that the black cabs retain their distinctiveness.”

The London Mayor admitted neither he nor TFL were able to ban Uber from operating in the capital, and said: “[As] much as I might not like some of the brash attitudes of these gigantic American internet companies and the way they think they can come over and disrupt the market in this country.

“I disapprove of it, I think they are setting out to do serious economic damage to the black taxi trade but it is not possible for me simply to ban something and to expect that ban to work.”

Mr Johnson is in his final year as Mayor of London, after vowing not to contest the 2016 election.

The Tory was first elected in 2008, but last month he returned the House of Commons as an MP after winning the seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip.

During this evening’s 90-minute debate, Mr Johnson answered questions on a range of issues from audience members and Twitter users.

Housing, airport runways, knife and gun crime, wheelchair access to the underground and the behaviour of cyclists were some of the subjects which arose.

Mr Johnson took on many of the questions with his usual faux-shambolic manner, and his crop of blonde hair became more unruly and dishevelled as the evening wore on.

He enjoyed bantering with the crowd, but came unstuck when he asked one questioner why he wasn’t standing up to speak.

“Because I’m in a wheelchair,” was the response.

nick ferrari

LBC host Nick Ferrari quizzed the London Mayor

Source: The Huffington Post