Established in the 1960s, Star has grown to become one of Birmingham’s largest and most respected Transport Operators.
In the 1960’s, two companies, Z Cars and Star Cars came together to create “Star Cars – incorporating Z Cars”.
By the 70’s the name was Star Radio Cars
In the 80’s the business was acquired by The Markham family, and Star Cars and Star Coaches as we know them today were created.
In the early days the fleet consisted of normal saloon cars and some minibuses, these undertook work for the education authority and the prison service as well as private hire. By the 80’s Star coaches began to do some local day trips using the small coaches that were now part of the fleet.
In the 90’s, as technology started to evolve the business, Star Cars invested in computer software and equipment to streamline the operation. In the late 90’s GPS was added, so that vehicles could be tracked and dispatched more efficiently.
The millenium bug prompted further investment to ensure the business would continue if the menace became a reality. Either it was the biggest fraud known to man, or the investment paid off as nothing happened.
More than 100 vehicles were on the fleet by the time of the millenium, and this included over 30 minibus school routes for the Education Authority.
Further investments in technology enabled Star to become the first taxi business to provide a text message to customers when their vehicle was on approach.
By 2004, Star Coaches was operating a full schedule of UK Holidays, Short Breaks and Day Trips using a fleet of its’ own luxury coaches.
In 2006, Star Cars introduced online booking for account customers, and introduced an automated callback service called “IVOR” – but IVOR was short lived as the local council weren’t keen on the fact IVOR didn’t record a customers destination at the time the booking was made. Unfortunately GPS positioning of the vehicles was unable to convince them that this was good for customers, but this version of IVOR lived out its’ days providing “Back on the Phone” live data to customers enquiring where their taxi was.
In 2008 further enhancement of technologies enabled the introduction of call recording software, so training and call monitoring saw an immediate step-up at that time. Over 2 million customer calls in a year was recorded in the business for the first time. Star Cars also rolled out new in-car terminals for the first time, with integrated Satellite Navigation.
In 2009 Star Cars launched the first mobile booking App for smartphones, with over 1,000 customers using it within 6 weeks of its launch.
By 2010, 2 1/2 million customers were calling each year, and the call centre was expanded to accommodate to more telephonists.
In 2012, massive investment was made to upgrade the company’s servers to accommodate the huge volumes of customer bookings now being handled. By 2013 this needed to be upgraded again due to significant demand and changes in technology.
In 2013, new in-car systems were installed which no longer used radio technology, a technology that had been used since 1962. The new system relied on mobile service providers, changing the face of the business again and improving service for customers. Over half a million pounds was spent expanding the operator capacity in the control centre, adding a new phone system. IVOR made a return having now been updated to take a destination (as well as other exciting new features for customers) and the mobile booking apps improved greatly, as card payments could now be taken via the app for the first time.
In 2014, a new Text Feedback service was launched for customers, and a Driver Profiles system where customers can “rate their driver”. The poorest performing drivers are re-trained so that they deliver the service the company knows customers love.
In 2014, more than 3 million people travelled (98.9% of whom were picked up within 7 minutes of their booked time), in a vehicle operated by Star Cars and Coaches, and over 50,000 telephone calls per week were handled by the phone systems.
In 2015, more people than ever before will get the chance to experience Star Cars and Star Coaches services for the first time as the service is expanded across the Midlands.
Now, Star Cars are Birmingham’s favourite taxi firm. With superb drivers, friendly customer service and a fantastic app Star Cars are there to support transport in and around Birmingham.