PORTSMOUTH, NH (CBS) – She may not look like a criminal, but Stephanie Franz definitely has a court date coming up soon.
“I don’t think I’m a criminal,” she told WBZ. “I just think it’s my right to be able to drive here in Portsmouth.”
Eager to make some extra money in her downtime, the 63-year-old New Hampshire grandmother started driving her comfortable black Cadillac for Uber, the car service, this summer.
“I knew a lot of people in Portsmouth, I go to church here, a lot of my friends are here,” she explains. “And I just love Portsmouth.”
The problem? In Portsmouth, Uber isn’t technically allowed to do business. Franz got two verbal warnings from police, and then late last month she was pulled over on Market Street. Her passengers were forced out of her car, and she was handed a summons to appear in court in early December.
“I don’t want to be a grandmother in jail,” Franz jests, adding that there are other Uber drivers in Portsmouth, but she is “the only one that I know of that’s been given a court date.”
She says that, as it has been explained to her, part of the city’s problem with Uber is that the company can’t guarantee its drivers have passed background checks. But Franz says in her case, that’s not a problem because her day job is driving a school bus for kids with developmental disabilities.
“I’m drug-tested, my fingerprints are registered with the state of New Hampshire, criminal background, driving record, everything,” she says.
She says Uber has vowed to represent her in court in December and to pay her fines.
“I’m just a person who believes in free enterprise, and this is one of the ways that you can do it,” Franz said.
WBZ reached out both to Uber and to the office of the Portsmouth City Attorney, and neither got back to us.