Rome gives taxi drivers courses to learn manners and English

ROME — Rome has started classes for hundreds of its taxi drivers to learn good manners and English.

The city said Thursday 750 drivers are slated to take eight classes of "practical" English, lessons about "cultural manners" as well as instructions on how to make visitors feel welcome in Italy's capital.

In a country that greatly lives off tourism, Italians' command of English and other foreign languages is often shaky in the sector.

Earlier this week, tourists had a hard time finding any Rome cabbie, well-mannered or not. The city's cab drivers had joined a nationwide, day-long taxi strike to protest competition from Uber-style drivers as well as private entrepreneurs who have taken to buying sleek, black vans, getting local driver-for-hire licenses and driving small groups of tourists around town.

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