Free English classes given to taxi and ride-share drivers to tackle language barriers at working
A class consisting of taxi and ride-share drivers whose first language may not be English focuses on the instruction given by their English teacher. The English class was provided by the Independent Drivers Guild and the Consortium For Worker Education.
Elrefeay Mousa was one of those in class. He is a driver from Egypt and said the language barrier has hindered his ability to communicate with passengers.
"Some passengers ask me about anything," Mousa said. "I can't talk with any passengers perfectly in English."
He has driven a taxi for six years in New York City. Hamid Khiresch, a driver from Algeria, said he has been a taxi and ride-share driver for one year and is eager to improve his English.
"Everything, for life, for work," Khiresch said. "Here in America, we need to improve our existence here."
The two are roughly 75 students who signed up for the classes. News 12 got an exclusive look inside the classes where students wrote down and recited phrases. They also took part in speaking activities to get them familiar with grammar.
"Some of them speak great English and some of them have English challenges," said teacher Cath Saxby.
The students spend three hours on Wednesdays and Thursdays at the IDG's offices in Long Island City. The classes last for 12 weeks where the students hope to be better English speakers in the end.
"It's really, really hard," Saxby said. "It feels good when people learn, and they get more confidence and that sort of thing."
The classes are free for the students. That includes the workbooks the use.
"People come in, they're focused, it's excellent," Saxby said.
Taxi and ride-share drivers who are interested in the English classes will need to register at the IDG offices located on the third floor at 4109 36th St. in Long Island City.
Interested students will need to take a test to see how proficient they are in English before being placed in a class.