Tuesday morning the saga of UBER Grandma came to a close at Portsmouth district court. Stephanie Franz’ trial was scheduled for seven tickets she’s received since October of 2015 for the horrible crime of driving people places without a government permission slip. Rather than thank her for providing the service of getting drunk people home alive (and stopping them from driving themselves home drunk), the “City of Portsmouth” gang decided to ticket her seven times for a total of $6,500! $500 for the first ticket, $1000 each for the rest.
The city’s argument for threatening the sweet grandmother and other UBER drivers with such ridiculous fines was the claim that more stringent background checks than what UBER provides are necessary to keep passengers safe. However, this argument is obvious garbage, as the city only regulates drivers who charge for their services. If a convicted murderer were to offer rides for free, the regulations wouldn’t apply. Portsmouth’s anti-ride-sharing regulations, passed in Summer of 2015, were created to protect the existing taxi oligopoly. That’s what regulations are really for – not to protect consumers as the government claims, but to protect the established businesses from innovative competition.
Despite the constant attacks by both the police and the cabbies, UBER Grandma was not deterred. She kept driving in civil disobedience to the city’s protectionist ordinances, knowing she had harmed no one, and in fact had helped many people get home safely. She’s a hero for continuing to stand up for her right to do business without asking for permission! (more…)
Civilly Disobedient UBER Driver Stephanie Franz, courtesy CBS Boston
It’s been almost a year since Stephanie Franz aka “UBER Grandma” was the first UBER driver cited for driving people safely to their destination in Portsmouth, NH. The city has been targeting brave UBER drivers with tickets for operating without government permission slips. In the Summer of 2015 the city gang declared UBER drivers who did not jump through the city’s hoops in addition to UBER’s background check and sign up process, would be targeted for ticketing.
UBER has provided Stephanie with an attorney and she’s ready to face down the city gang in court. However, there have been multiple reschedulings of the date, so hopefully this is the final one: Please join UBER Grandma at Portsmouth District Court at 8am on December 13th (here’s a facebook event) and support her courageous stand for your freedom to drive people places without having to ask government permission!
Stephanie, who has become the face of the Free UBER movement, has now racked up six tickets for at least $5,000 seven tickets totaling $7,500 that she is taking to court soon with the help of an UBER-supplied attorney. All of this for helping people avoid getting DUIs.
She’s now not the only one. At least one other Portsmouth UBER driver reports receiving a ticket already this weekend and Saturday night is just getting started as I’m writing this.
Though Stephanie did not join UBER to become a civil disobedience superstar, she appears to have embraced her role and has even taken to task the four cowardly UBER drivers in Portsmouth who have obediently jumped through the city’s hoops and registered like good little slaves. She wrote today in a post to the Free UBER page on facebook:
Why is it that 4 uber drivers have registered with the town of Portsmouth? Don’t you know what this is doing? Every time I’ve been pulled over, part of the statement from the officers has been why don’t you just go on and register…. 4 others already have. I have stuck my neck out for all Uber drivers in the Portsmouth area. I feel that you four have stabbed me in the back. You’re free to do what you want to do but I take offense to you
registering. I can call you something but I’m not. Just remember the next time you see me pulled over with the blue lights flashing I am taking one for all of us even you.
Just to let you other Uber drivers know, they are going to be pulling over Uber drivers tonight. I will be there anyway.
The ridesharing laws of Portsmouth and Manchester will soon be voided by HB 1697, which provides ‘light touch’ regulation of ridesharing at the state level.
This is good news both for Uber and new competitors like Arcade City.
Arcade City grew out of the Free Uber campaign. Our core team realized that while we were defending consumer choice in Portsmouth, Uber was busy lobbying Concord to restrict that choice by attempting to rig New Hampshire’s ridesharing market exclusively in their favor.
Uber’s lobbyists spent fifteen months trying to get Uber’s business model encoded into law statewide. It’s the “Uber model legislation” they are ramming through legislatures across the country, mostly successfully.
After the NH House passed Uber’s version of the bill on first reading last month, a small handful of Arcade City drivers worked with the commerce committee. We informed them of our different business model and provided feedback to help remove the Uber-specific provisions of the bill. They were very receptive to our arguments and did not need much convincing.
Speaking before the vote, the bill’s lead sponsor told the chamber that all of our concerns were addressed:
“Those organizations and entities that sent memos and emails out expressing those concerns, we were able to address all of them. For insurance, we were able to lower the insurance from $1 million to $300,000. We have actually de-Uberized this bill. We have now taken out those things that made [this unique to Uber]. For instance if you want to start a TNC — thanks to you folks it’s only $500 — and thanks to you folks, we have also now made sure that they can do other things Uber doesn’t do. For instance, they can take cash.”
Uber tried to rig New Hampshire’s TNC market in their favor. Arcade City successfully pushed back. On our new website launching next week, we’ll share ideas and techniques to help AC drivers around the world push back against Uber’s attempts to use the force of government to erect barriers to competition.
Apparently Uber is afraid of a level playing field. Arcade City is not.
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.
Recorded February 16th, 2016
Christopher David, super activist and start-up entrepreneur joins us in studio this week on the eve of Liberty Forum. Topics this week include Chris’s decentralized competitor to Uber called Arcade City, a status update on Chris’s legal issues surrounding his Free Uber activism and an update on Uber Grandma, Ethereum and the impact it will have on governments, Ann’s desire for driverless cars, updates on The Rebel Mistress and Chris running for state rep, the FSP hitting 20K, The Rebel Mistress with Flaming Freedom hosting the Hallowkeene Dance Party, and the Rebel Love Show’s latest psychonaut journey. The Rebel Love Show will also be recording at Liberty Forum Saturday February 20th 2-4pm from the Radisson in Manchester NH. The Rebel Love Show airs every Tuesday night 10pm-12am EST on LRN.FM and RebelLoveShow.com/live.