Whether you need to meet Uber driver requirements ot become an Ola driver, Bolt or FREE NOW driver, getting a PCO licence from TfL is a mandatory step. Part of getting that licence is passing the TfL topographical test, and also proving that your English is good enough to be an on-demand driver by passing the TfL English test.

If previously TfL accepted proper documentation from a language center that you have the necessary language skills, this is no longer possible. This means you must actually take and pass the TfL English language test. Find out here what is a PCO licence and why passing the TfL English test is mandatory to get this licence.

What is the TfL English test?

The TfL English test is a language test for drivers coming from non-English speaking countries, who want to apply for a PCO licence. It’s been a mandatory step required by Transport for London (TfL), and it proves that you have a working understanding of the English language.

IMPORTANT: Until October 2021, TfL accepted documentation as proof, such as a language certification from one of their approved centers. Since then, however, changes introduced mean that drivers need to pass the actual tests.

Apart from the fact that you can’t get the PCO licence without passing the language test, as an on-demand driver, safety is critical, for both you and your passengers. Good communication will make interactions much easier, but it is also important that you can read and understand information, and communicate in all situations that can occur in your job as an on-demand driver, including an accident.

What does the TfL English test include?

The test includes two separate assessments — the English Language Requirement (ELR) which evaluates drivers’ skills in terms of English language listening and speaking and the SERU (safety, equality, and regulatory requirements) assessment to evaluate not just general English reading and writing skills, but also to ensure drivers understand how the requirements apply to them.

Speaking and listening (ELR)

This is a 15-20 minute conversation with an examiner. Although the assessment happens at the TfL Office, it actually take the test via a secure video or telephone link using a TfL service provider called PeopleCert. To pass the exam, you must score at least 60 out of 100 marks.

The verbal assessment has five sections:

  1. Personal information – respond to questions on familiar matters
  2. Situational role play – initiate and respond to social situations
  3. Exchanging information – exchange information on a given image/set of images
  4. Listen and respond – answer questions on a short speech that the examiner makes
  5. Long turn – give a short talk on a relevant topic provided by the examiner.

Download practice materials

Reading and writing (SERU assessment)

This is a written part and it evaluates not just language itself, but also how drivers understand safety, equality, and regulatory requirements. It comprises of multiple choice questions and completing sentences by adding missing words.

This test is based on the PHV Driver Handbook and it covers the following topics:

  1. Equality and disability – the needs of passengers with protected status, like race or disability
  2. Passenger safety – how to keep passengers safe
  3. Safer driving – public safety and regulations on licence tests
  4. TfL policy for drivers –  rules on how PHV drivers should behave towards passengers and other road users.

The reading and listening part involves multiple-choice questions and completing sentences by adding missing words.

IMPORTANT: New PCO drivers must also complete the online Safeguarding Awareness training course before completing the SERU assessment.

Who needs to take the TfL English test?

Starting April 1st 2023, all drivers applying for a PCO licence for the first time must take and pass the TfL English test, both the ELR and SERU assessment.

For drivers who already applied for a PCO licence and haven’t take the full English test, the requirements vary depending in which of the following categories you’re in:

  • Drivers who didn’t provide ELR evidence by 30 September 2021 – you have time until 30 September 2023 to pass the ELR and SERU assessment.
  • Drivers who provided ELR evidence by 30 September 2021 – you might either be required only to pass the SERU assessment by 31 March 2025, if your ELR evidence is satisfactory or pass both the ELR and SERU by 30 September 2024.
  • Drivers who applied between 1 October 2021 – 31 March 2023 – if you haven’t take the ELR and SERU assessment yet, you must pass both assessments by 30 September 2024.

How much does it cost to take the TfL English test?

If you’re taking the test for the first time, the two parts of the test cost £36 each, so £72 for the whole test. For a re-sit, the charge is £16 for each part.

Can I take the TfL English test more than once?

Yes. If you don’t pass the first time, you can take it again.

Where can I take the TfL English test?

You can take the test at one of the two TfL offices in Baker Street or West Kensington.

Whether you’ve already submitted your application for a PCO licence or are due to renew it, TfL will contact you about a test date. You can also contact TfL on 0343 222 4444 for more information, but you can’t book the test until TfL invites you to do so.

About Splend

We’re PCO car specialists enabling on-demand drivers to make money by driving. Our vision is a future where every on-demand driver can be successful.

We can set you up with a brand-new or new-model car, and provide the training and support you need to become a more profitable, safer, and fulfilled driver. Don’t take our word for it — Uber drivers rate us excellent on Trustpilot.

Make an appointment at our London Hub at 393 Edgware Road Cricklewood, Londonemail us, or say hello on 0333 016 4331