Supporting deaf and blind people in Birmingham

March 3, 2017

Star Cars launches new service that will revolutionise booking a taxi for deafblind people in Birmingham.

Birmingham City Council agreed to Star Cars being the only taxi company in the city to pilot the technology after Star Cars presented it with evidence from Sense and Guide Dogs.

Martin Walker, operations manager for Star Cars said: “To overcome the difficulties deafblind people have in booking a taxi, we have launched an automated telephone booking system that allows any registered customer to book a taxi to pick them up from a list of pre-set addresses by simply pressing a number on their telephone keypad.

“The system will ordinarily update the list so that the address you are most frequently picked up from is at the top of the list. However, we can fix the list so that the options remain the same. For example, option 1 could be set as your home address, option 2 work, etc. If you would like to use Star Cars and want us to set up a fixed list of pick-up addresses for you, please contact us or have someone contact us on your behalf.”

Star Cars’ drivers will be the first in the city to receive training from Guide Dogs to make sure that every Star Cars’ driver knows how to assist a visually impaired person and how to carry an assistance dog in their car.

As well as making it possible for deafblind people to book taxis themselves, a Braille ‘Star Cars’ identity strip has been attached to the inside windowsill of every passenger door of a Star Cars’ car and on the reverse of every driver’s ID badge so that a visually impaired person can make sure they are getting into a licensed car with a licensed driver.

Martin Walker said: “We hear in the press about taxi drivers refusing to carry assistance dogs. Unless the council has granted a taxi driver an exemption, it is illegal for a driver to refuse to carry an assistance dog. If any of our drivers were to refuse to carry an assistance dog, we will do everything we can to assist the council to prosecute the driver. Our objective is to empower more people to get out and about in our communities.”

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