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This Black-Cab Driver Hates Uber So Much He Changed His Numberplate To "H8 UBR"

"It isn’t causing any hate – even though it says hate on the numberplate, it’s actually causing smiles and happiness."

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Martin Eley, 31, decided to take a stand against Uber by fitting the special numberplate to his fully licensed taxi earlier this week.

"It's been crazy," he told Buzzfeed News. "On the street there's been lots of smiles, laughs, and waving. Other private-hire drivers have even smiled. It isn't causing any hate – even though it says hate on the numberplate, it's actually causing smiles and happiness.

"I'm not out to cause trouble. I was purely browsing on the DVLA website. I'm not really into private plates but an idea popped into my head and one thing led to another."

The traditional London black-cab trade is at war with Uber, which cabbies accuse of undercutting their business without having to meet the same standards, and allowing drivers on to the road who have not undertaken the same level of training.

Eley, who has been driving for seven years, said he was angered by how Uber is operating in London.

Martin Eley

"They've come into the market and moved the goalposts," he said. "We had competition from minicab firms for a long time but with Uber they've changed the rules to suit them, which isn't a level playing field. They've made it unfair."

He also complained about Uber's record on paying UK corporation tax and said leading British politicians such as David Cameron and Boris Johnson were too close to Rachel Whetstone, a former Conservative adviser who is now Uber's head of policy.

"I think there's some sort of hidden agenda," he said. "The amount of [Uber drivers] that they're letting out on the street, I just wish they'd calm it down really, there's all sorts of problems it's causing."

Eley declined to say how much he spent on the personalised numberplate, although similar plates can cost upwards of £250.

Eley, whose father is also a black-cab driver, said he is concerned about Uber taking over the entire London taxi market and forming a monopoly: "Once competitors are eliminated, prices, as happens with all monopolies, will go up dramatically. That is how it works in the world of big businesses, which build their success at the expense of smaller businesses.

"The black-cab trade is the best in the world, we do everything by the rules, we've been here for 300 years, and I'm confident that anyone who gets in my cab gets out with a smile on their face and happy with the service I provided."

Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Jim Waterson at jim.waterson@buzzfeed.com.

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