• Reuters


New York City taxi drivers will not be required to speak English any longer.

The change is the result of a new law that Mayor Bill DeBlasio signed in April and went into effect on Friday eliminating the English-language proficiency exam for taxi and for-hire vehicle drivers.

It is the latest big change for cab drivers as policymakers and regulators try to adapt the city’s requirements to demographic and technological changes. The legislation created a single license for all taxicab and for-hire vehicles and eliminated the English test.

The City Council described the requirement as “a significant barrier to entry to driving a taxi” in a statement announcing the bill and related legislation in January.

New York is home to nearly 144,000 active drivers of medallion cabs, livery cars and other for-hire vehicles, according to a 2016 report from the Taxi and Limousine Commission. Over 90 percent of those drivers are born outside the United States.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission is working with the mayor’s office on a potential education program that would include English vocabulary for drivers, a spokeswoman for commission said.

The new law was part of a broader legislative package that also included a bill to require the Taxi and Limousine Commission to directly administer a health care services program.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.