Raye Miles, a 17-year taxi industry veteran, lacked the foresight to anticipate the single biggest trend in the cab business: breaking the law.

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Raye Miles did everything right. The president of Portland Broadway Cab, Miles helms a taxi company that was the first in the Portland market to adopt GPS technology in the 1990s, hybrid vehicles in the 2000s and mobile apps today.

But Miles, a 17-year industry veteran, apparently lacked the foresight to anticipate the single biggest trend in the taxi business: breaking the law.

“I can honestly say it never crossed my mind,” she said this morning, sipping a latte in a downtown Starbucks.  Ridesharing and taxi companies share customers, drivers and offer the same service.  Yes, “transportation network companies” came out with a new technology.  “But what was truly revolutionary,” Miles emphasizes, “was their willingness to break the law.”

In late October, the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association, a national industry association, named Miles the 2015 Taxicab Operator of the Year. The honor recognized Miles for her leadership in driving industry trends and technologies.

Miles, 51, says she can think of only one other woman who has received the national award.  Her own company skews male; fewer than 10% of its 300 drivers are women.

Since last April, Miles has lost about 20 drivers to Uber and Lyft.  But she is not bemoaning the days when cabs ruled the roost.  She knows TNCs are here to stay. She also knows the cab industry was structured in a way that stifled innovation, growth and demand.

A self-described eternal optimist, Miles Portland officials will “stand firm” and ensure ride hailing and taxi companies must abide by the same regulations regarding insurance coverage, background checks and wheelchairs that cab companies are required to follow. 

But in the near future, the two industries will merge, Miles predicts. In the pre app days, consumers needed the visibility of a clearly marked cab to ensure safety.  Today, trackability via mobile app and GPS technology has rendered the need for visibility obsolete. 

Goodbye yellow painted taxi.

Miles says Broadway will eventually add “unbranded” cars to its fleet, a move that will, among other things, save the company painting costs. The company is also launching a proprietary app (possible names; B-Cab, B-Car) next week.

Broadway already uses Curb, an Uber like on demand app—without the surge pricing — that allows customers to hail the closest cab. (Curb actually predates Uber; the founders just didn’t think to circumvent city laws by violating regulations governing cab industry). The proprietary app will limit consumers to Broadway drivers.   

Is Miles ready for the next big disruptor? Absolutely. “I like to believe when driverless cars become a viable option, Broadway will be the first in the market.”