Rodriguez, who is chairman of the Council’s Transportation Committee, argued that the requirement is too strict and should be waived because it is a "significant barrier to entry to driving a taxi." This means that cabbies wouldn't necessarily have to prove that they understand traffic signs or can read road warnings.
"Effective communication between rider and driver is key for any ride and this is not in jeopardy with this bill," Rodriguez said, according to the Post. The major reason for this change is to level the playing field with companies like Uber and Lyft, which don't require any English language tests. "This will create an equal level of service between taxis, liveries and black cars alike," he added.
Rodriguez and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito are also sponsoring legislation that would require black car services to give price estimates before picking up a rider, requiring that bills couldn't be more than 20% higher than the estimate.
"They’re not going to get good tips if they can’t read," Don Simmons, CEO of Power Packaging in Midtown, told the Post. "As a New Yorker, I know where I’m going. If I were a tourist, that’d be a problem."