Language learning app busuu has announced a partnership with Uber to offer free English language lessons for its drivers in London.
The optional course has been designed by the London-based startup with drivers in mind, focusing on conversation topics like discussing routes and handling customer service. The course will involve a mix of speaking, listening, reading, and writing exercises.
“Some drivers who use the Uber app don’t speak English as a first language, but find that their English rapidly improves when they talk to passengers,” said Uber London general manager Tom Elvidge. “By teaming up with an innovative app like busuu we can help drivers feel more comfortable when interacting in a second language with riders.”
Uber recently clashed with Transport for London (TfL) over the introduction of new English tests as of April 1 for anyone obtaining or renewing a private-hire taxi license. Uber had taken issue specifically with written tests.
“While speaking and listening skills are important, we do not think that Transport for London's written English tests for all private hire drivers make any sense,” said Elvidge. “Being able to write an essay has nothing to do with communicating with passengers or getting them safely from A to B.”
Elvidge added that while busuu’s course will help drivers, Uber will continue to challenge TfL’s policies on written tests.
busuu has 65 million users globally, according to CEO Bernhard Niesner, while the company has moved further into the area of corporate clients.