Driver & Veteran Owned in Taxi Business Since 1946

Radio Cab’s History

Radio Cab

About Us

Radio Cab’s History 1946

Radio Tuxedo Cab hit the streets on August 23, 1946. Our first phone number was BE-1175. The original office was located at 1715 S.W. Salmon. It was a two-room wooden structure with only two phones for incoming calls. Out on the streets, we shared call boxes with other cab companies or used free phones in service stations and restaurants to get our orders from the dispatchers.

Our new company was formed as a corporation, owned collectively by the drivers. Each owner/operator held a share of the company assets. Together they decided on the rules and operating procedures. It was well understood that their success was entirely dependent on the success of the company – and it has remained that way to this day.

Our original fleet numbered 35 cabs. All of the drivers wore blue uniforms complete with chauffeur caps and were members of the Teamsters Union. Times were good, but operations were difficult because of the scattered taxi stand locations and lack of two-way radios in the cabs.


In 1948 a switchboard was installed in our dispatch office and the first two-way radios were put in the cabs. The radios were not very good, and the fact that all three local cab companies shared the same operating frequency made matters even worse. We could hear each other calling in or dispatching orders! It wasn’t until 1950 that the F.C.C. granted each cab company its frequency to operate.

In 1949 we increased our fleet to 37 cabs. The City had revoked two permits issued to Beacon Cab because of illegal activities. We applied for the two permits, and they were eventually issued to us.


In 1950 we moved our offices from 1715 S.W. Salmon to 1776 S.W. Madison. By this time we had dropped the Tuxedo part of our original name and were now officially known as Radio Cab Company. In our new facility, we had an office, a dispatch room, and a driver’s room.

Dudley Lapham, our manager at the time, had the foresight to see the need to build up the night business. He installed direct-line phones in clubs, taverns, and motels. This enabled frequent callers to make immediate contact with our dispatch by simply lifting the receiver on a phone, without having to dial. This innovation helped to boost the night business. Post-war Portland had a lively nightlife with lots of clubs and after-hour spots. The downtown area was alive and business was good for our growing cab business.

During the 1950’s Mr. Lapham also managed to work a deal to purchase the cabs and operating permits owned by Union Cab Company. This acquisition added 30 more cabs to our fleet and made us a solid company, big enough to make City Hall pay attention to us when issues arose.



In 1958 we made the big decision to buy our property. The Oregon Transfer Garage, located at 1613 N.W. Kearney was purchased and became our new headquarters. We have been located there ever since. It is a large building that easily houses a gas station, auto repair shop, offices, dispatch room, driver’s room, radio repair shop, and taxi meter repair shop, with enough room left over to install a car wash.

In 1959 Yellow Cab of Portland came up for sale. In those days the cab stands belonged to individual companies and Yellow Cab owned all of the good stands. A joint venture by the two remaining large companies, Broadway and Radio, resulted in the purchase of Yellow Cab. This added 30 permits and vehicles to our fleet and gave us some good taxi stands on which to position ourselves. Later on in 1970 Mayor Goldschmidt made all stands open, operating on a first come first served basis.


The 1960s brought us a new airport, the Vietnam War, and some local civil unrest. Demonstrations and riots sometimes made cab driving a little more dangerous than normal. A few of our cabs were attacked. During that period being a “Veteran Owned and Operated” taxi company was not always a good thing.


The 1980s brought some internal financial difficulties for us and our chief competitor, Broadway Cab Company. We toughed it out and survived. Broadway did not, and eventually filed for bankruptcy. They are now owned by outside interests. We continued to the present under the original structure as a driver-owned and operated company.

Throughout the years, Radio Cab gradually grew in number. We acquired other smaller cab companies and were issued additional operating permits. We are currently permitted to operate 136 taxicabs inside the Portland city limits, and also have a growing fleet of cabs operating in the greater Portland metropolitan area, including Vancouver, Washington. This makes us one of the largest taxi fleets in the Pacific Northwest.

Our dispatching procedures and equipment have gradually changed during our history, too. Keeping track of the cabs and taking orders from customers was done manually at first. Handwritten paper order slips, magnetic boards with numbered buttons for each cab, and two-way radios were the standard means up until the mid-1990s. It was then that we decided to computerize the dispatch system. Today we have the most advanced digital dispatching system available. It uses mobile data terminals in the vehicles to receive orders from dispatch. GPS allows us to keep track of the location of all the cabs.

We have also replaced most of the direct line phones with automated call boxes at clubs, restaurants, hotels, and other commercial establishments. These call boxes automatically dispatch cab requests with the simple push of a button.


Cancellations and Bookings

All cancellations of local trips made before the booking time and prior to vehicle dispatch will not incur a penalty charge. If you need to cancel a booking please contact us by phoning our call center at 503-227-1212. As a general rule, local trips are normally dispatched up to twenty minutes before their due time.


In the event of circumstances beyond our control, Radio Cab reserves the right to cancel all services. Where payment has been made, a refund will be issued. If a car breaks down during the journey, an alternative will be provided as quickly as possible.


No refunds will be given for trips terminated part way through the hire. If the trip was prepaid or a flat rate, full fare will be due to the driver. If the trip is not prepaid, full meter rate for the portion of the journey completed will be due to the driver.

Radio Cab Return/Refund Policy

Due to fraud concerns, our return & refund policy varies depending on the type of transaction for which a refund is sought.

Gift Cards

Radio Cab gift cards cannot be refunded or exchanged unless the balance remaining is less than $5. To redeem a Radio Cab gift card with a remaining balance of $5 or less please follow these simple steps:

Please email us with your request at manager at Be sure to include your name, gift card number, and the reason for your request.

Ship your card(s) back to us at the below address. Be sure to use a trackable shipping method such as FedEx, UPS, or USPS Priority Mail. Please include your contact information and your gift card(s).

Ship to:

Gift Card Return

Radio Cab Co.

1613 NW Kearney St.

Portland, OR 97209

Acceptance Criteria for Refunds:

Please ensure that the gift card you are returning meets the following criteria in order to receive a refund:

The gift card has not been damaged in any way

The balance on the card is $5 or less

Once we have verified that your returned gift card(s) meet our acceptance standards, a credit will be put back on your credit or debit card within 10 days after receiving your returned Radio Cab gift card.

Radio Cab is not responsible for any loss, damage or failure of delivery of your gift card return.

This policy ONLY applies to physical gift cards that are shipped to you.

AR Accounts

Credit card, debit card, and gift card over payments on AR accounts may be refunded. A refund must be requested with 90 days of the payment date. Radio Cab will verify the reason for your refund request and a credit will be put back on your credit or debit card within 10 days after verification of the reason for your refund request.

In-cab Credit Card Transactions

In-cab Credit card, debit card, and gift card payments are refundable in the event of an overcharge or fraud. In-cab credit card payment refunds must be requested within 90 days of the ride date. Refunds to credit/debit cards can only be refunded to the original card used. 

* Radio Cab Co. its subsidiaries and its licensees, successors, and assigns reserve the right to amend these terms at any time and to make exceptions on case-by-case basis.