Portsmouth Police Plan Crackdown as Cabbies Attempt to Intimidate UBER Grandma

UBER Grandma Driver Stephanie Franz

“UBER Grandma” Stephanie Franz, courtesy CBS Boston

As we’ve learned here in Keene over a decade-plus of activism, anytime someone challenges the status quo, they are targeted by the supporters of the status quo. In the case of the Free UBER saga in Portsmouth, NH, the good-old-boys network of cab drivers and government goons are again on the attack.

Since the Summer of 2015, multiple UBER drivers in Portsmouth have been regularly committing civil disobedience by driving without jumping through the city’s arbitrary hoops. Effectively the city outlawed UBER by creating ridiculous regulations designed to protect the cab companies from much-needed competition. Despite this, UBER’s app has continued to work, so drivers like “UBER Grandma” Stephanie Franz have continued to take passengers where they want to go.

Franz has been rewarded with several $500-$1,000 tickets from police for her good deeds. Despite facing financial ruin at the hands of the city, she has heroically continued to drive – much to the disgust of the awful cab drivers who have continued a campaign of intimidation against her. She’s had her tail light smashed in previously, has been boxed in by cabbies multiple times, and just today posted this to facebook:

Interesting night in Portsmouth. Taxi drivers are all pumped up over Portsmouth’s temporary threat to “sting” uber drivers. What polite and “manly” men they are. It started last night with a pick up at the Moose. As my riders were entering my car out of the bar walks, the pillar of manhood, cigarette hanging out of his mouth, crabby cabbie [Anchor Taxi owner Merle White]. He sees me picking up my ride and endearing words were yelled “there’s that fucking Uber grandma”. My ride was so ticked off that he started yelling back at him. As the night progressed the rest of the chosen few made their statements too.


Angry Seacoast Cabbies Hate Competition – Photo Courtesy Seacoast Online

They would pull up next to my car, stop or slow down and stare at me as I was waiting for my next ride. Whoever that handsome hunk of manhood , with the well kept gray beard, Beautiful glaring eyes, and tooth was, I hope you got your eyes full as you stared at me from your taxi van.


To the Three Musketeers who stood by their vans at the bus stop on Market Square; Butts hanging out of your mouths, extending those well defined cannons for arms and pointing at me as I would leave my parking position at the end of Pleasant Street to go pick up riders. They guarded my spot four or five times as I would leave and come back. Oh, almost forgot they spoke fluent mumble. Thank you Portsmouth taxis for your enjoyable evening.

The threat of a sting operation that she’s referring to is coming from Portsmouth police chief David Mara who this week announced a coming crackdown against UBER drivers. Assistant mayor Jim Splaine says he supports a crackdown as unregistered drivers should not, “exploit the system”. They are spurred on by cab company owner John Palreiro who claims UBER drivers are “stealing” from him, as though he owns every rider in town.  Check out this Seacoast Online article to read the full ridiculousness of this protection racket’s scheming to destroy the innovators in the transport market.

All of this is happening right as the state representatives in Concord have passed legislation that will (if passed by the senate and governor) regulate UBER and other ride-sharing companies statewide and will override and invalidate Portsmouth’s local regulations as NH is not a “home rule” state. Stay tuned here to Free Keene for the latest!

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  1. I rode with Stephanie one night and she was great – may this silly battle end soon. Free Uber!

  2. “Activism” ? LMHO … no – more like low-brow douchebaggery and general juvenile stupidity.

  3. It appears that the juvenile behavior has been quite one-sided thus far. Didn’t you read the part where Stephanie’s property was damaged in retaliation for her activism? Oh, wait! Who am I kidding, Eddie? You don’t read the articles, you merely skim them for disqualifying content! Since you failed to find any, the best word you could use to summarize your evaluation was “douchebaggery”. My that’s powerful! Is that word regarded as an earnest criticism in your intellectual circles, Eddie?

  4. “Fluent mumble” That’s a good one.

  5. Uhmmm…..she’s breaking the law!!!! Stop breaking the law and this will end. It doesn’t matter if you like the laws or not.

  6. I don’t understand why John Palreiro doesn’t encourage his cab drivers to register on Uber themselves and get in the game. Fighting rideshare technology is pointless. The customer wants to call a ride on a phone, know they’re paying pay a fair price, know the route is efficient, pay without using cash, and have some digital history of the trip (in case there are any problems). Cab companies will die if they don’t get onboard. This is not much different that the digital music file-sharing problem the record industry faced in the early 2000’s with Napster, before iTunes let you purchase 1 song from an album for a fair price. The truth is, the cab companies got beat to the punch. They should have united across cities and rolled-out a cab hailing app years ago.

  7. Says the inarticulate name-calling child.

  8. The cabbies were there first. They are fighting for their jobs. If the state says you don’t have to be a part of Uber and someone decides to stay with Uber, you freekeeners will be harassing those people. If she chooses to continue to break the law, she will get ticketed and eventually thrown in jail.

  9. @Jumping Jacks: Your argument makes no sense. If you have a legitimate job, you don’t need to attempt to outlaw competition, because you are providing a desired service at a desired price. Anyone attempting to outlaw competition is, by definition, a thief rather than someone who is legitimately employed. Thieves should not be coddled.

  10. Bye bye Free Keene the FSP doesn’t want you anymore! Deviants!

  11. Claiming “dibs” is not a valid argument for advocating legislation designed to stifle competition, Jacks. Paying customers are not the rightful property of business owners. Why is it that you’re so completely incapable of understanding that in order for markets to work properly It is the customer’s decisions that are ultimately the most important?

  12. Drac and Flint – Again your responses are not logical. Of course the cabbies are going to fight for their jobs. Obviously you don’t understand marketing strategies and business. This type of argument between real Cabbies and Uber or any other group stimulates competition. The cabbies have a bigger share of the market and large backers that will help them win this. Again, you two don’t know anything about anything. Drac – The church lady and Flint the catcher of the inappropriate love relationship you have for each other.

    It is funny FSP is dropping all freekeeners from the group. Primarily because Ian Bernard can’t keep his mouth shut and talk about children should have sex with adults.

  13. Today is a good day. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. Good riddance Free Keene!

  14. Let me see if I’ve got this straight, Jacks. You’re arguing that outlawing competitors in a given market somehow results in more competition? The only competition that will occur in the model you’re proposing is black market competition, Jacks, and that’s exactly what Uber’s services in Portsmouth have become, haven’t they? Strangely enough though, it’s been the City of Portsmouth and the local cabbies that have provoked more violence than Stephanie Franz and other Uber drivers black market services ever have. You’re apparently not clever enough to figure out why that is, are you Jacks?

  15. Thank you for your courage Uber Grand Ma. You are doing the right thing.

  16. @Jumping Jacks, you seem to think obedience to a bad law is a greater good than disobedience to a bad law.

    Your ancestors weren’t by chance slave catchers were they?

  17. Drac Vermell – Wow you sure like to put words in people’s mouths church lady. To continue to argue this and repeat myself, is boring and not logical. I suggest you read my comments the answers you are looking for are in my comments.

  18. @Jumping Jacks: You do not appear to understand what “logical” means. No one said that they are not going to fight for their illegitimate jobs. Of course they are – that’s the point which was made in the article.

    The issue is that their jobs are illegitimate, so fighting for them is also illegitimate. They’re thieves and frauds, and deserve to be treated as such.

Care to comment?