Cars for Stars Limited

We are a well established, award winning company offering chauffeur driven cars and stretched limousines for hire.

Cars for Stars Limited started trading in 2003 and we opened our first franchised operation in early 2004 based in Manchester. Today, our Head Office is based in London and we are probably the largest combined limousine and chauffeur car operation anywhere within the UK, allowing us to provide a truly national service through a local branch network.

Our aim is to provide a top quality service at a fair and equitable rate, it is not our aim to attempt compete with part-time operators who have purchased a limousine for the price of a new family saloon. Clearly, a company that operates full-time and invests heavily in a modern fleet of stretched limousines and chauffeur cars can and should only be expected to compete on a like for like basis.

Because we are serious about our business we do not cut corners when it comes to the safety of our customers either. Our vehicles, both chauffeur cars and limousines are licensed for private hire and as a consequence, the vehicles are subject to rigorous council tests and our chauffeurs are also required to be licensed which includes a medical and criminal records bureau check. Few people would knowingly enter into an unlicensed cab and we believe the same rule should apply to the publics views on limousines, after all, there are few reasons why any limousine operator in London should be unlicensed.

We have formal, written systems and procedures, so that irrespective of which branch of Cars for Stars you use, you can expect to receive the same, high level of service, no compromise.

If you are looking for an established operation, with a quality full-time 'licensed' operator of limousines for hire, then Cars for Stars is a good place to stop by.

Full-time.....

You may ask yourself why you should prefer a full-time operator to a part-time. It is a fair question and we will attempt to answer it.

Many (but not all) part-time operators use their limousine to supplement their full-time income, invariably this means that they can only provide limousines in the evenings and weekends. Many, but not all, have also not bothered to take the time and trouble to license their vehicles for private hire. This may be as a consequence of the cost, or the fact that their vehicle and/or chauffeurs may not be able to meet the requirements of the authorities. Clearly you must judge for yourself. Furthermore, it is fair to state, that most part-time operators will not be as accessible or responsive to their customers needs.

That notwithstanding, not all part-time operators are bad, but you or your party will be faced with the prospect of determining which ones are good and which ones should be avoided, this is an unenviable (if avoidable) task that even an experienced operator would not want to undertake. Some limousine operators will be cheaper, because they will not have the same overheads, may not be registered for VAT and/or may not have bothered to license their limousines for private hire. If you are going to draw a parallel, we would urge you to determine what is important to you and then compare on a like for like basis.

Full-time operators have chosen the limousine business as their vocation, they must build trust, deliver consistently high levels of service and offer top quality vehicles to survive. If there is one purchase where you need to be aware of the differences, it has to be when you are looking to hire a stretched limousine.

Licensed for hire.....

You may not think it matters whether or not your chosen limousine company is licensed or not, but it does. No right-minded person would want to get into an unlicensed cab and yet, everyday, 100's of people get into unlicensed limousines.

Whilst not all local authorities will license stretched limousines, the fact remains that most do (including Transport for London) and the number is rising all of the time. But, because it is expensive many limousine operators simply don't bother. Alternatively, they may suspect, or know, that their vehicles would simply not pass the rigorous  vehicle test. But, in the final analysis, it is your safety that is potentially at risk. An unlicensed limousine, even though it is being used for fare paying passengers, only has to pass the same test as your family car, ridiculous isn't it? In spite of the fact that most limousines carry children, an unlicensed operator is not obliged to complete any checks on their drivers (although some may still do so), whereas, a licensed limousine operator is obliged to only use 'badged' chauffeurs. Amongst other things other things,  badged chauffeurs have to complete and pass a medical and a criminal records check.

In recent months, the Police and local authorities have started to concentrate some effort on this industry, but the fact remains that enforcement remains sporadic and typically designed with headlines in mind rather than the genuine safety of the passengers. There is also a great deal of buck-passing, with central Government stating that it is a matter for the local authorities and Police, rather than getting their hands dirty and actually driving the whole thing. In spite of the fact that much of the industry is pushing for clarity, an updating of current legislation and enforcement, the Government continues do do little or nothing to address this burgeoning industry.

In the meantime, you can perhaps get a good 'feel' for the limousine operators' attitude to their business and the interests of their customers by enquiring whether or not their vehicles and chauffeurs are licensed for private hire.

One over the EIGHT.....

There is a great deal of controversy over the issue of how many passengers can be carried in a stretched limousine, but it is surprisingly simple.

If the Operators' limousines are licensed by the local authority for private hire, the maximum number of passengers that can be legally carried is eight. No argument!

If they are not licensed with the local authority, then this may not matter to them, but it should matter to you. Of course, local authority licensing is not the only option open to legitimate operators, they could also apply for a small bus operators license which is issued by VoSA. However, in spite of what some may claim, they must still adhere to the rules. These state quite clearly that any vehicle that carries more than 8 passengers must have a Certificate of Initial Fitness (CoIF) and because of the costs involved, there are currently less than 20 vehicles in the UK that meet this requirement. If they have got a CoIF, you can guarantee that they will be shouting this from the tree tops, so it will be all over their website and they will not object to providing you with a copy.

In recent months, some more enterprising operators have found another 'legal' way to allow up to 14 passengers to be carried in a stretched limousine, without the need for a CoIF or, for that matter an operators' or private hire license. They simply hire the vehicle to you on a self-drive hire basis, on the understanding that you either have an "appropriate" license or experience, or (most likely to be the case), you use a chauffeur from a 'pool'. From what we can see this may well be legal, certainly none of the authorities seem to be taking any action, but what does it mean for the hirer?

Well, of course, all of the responsibility falls on the shoulders of the hirer. For example, if you were to share the costs of the hire, then you would be acting for 'reward', which means you need to be licensed for 'hire and reward', in other words a licensed private hire operator. If there was an accident, then you need to consider who would be responsible for any claims and for paying the excess, would it be you, the chauffeur or the company hiring the limousine on a self-drive basis? If you were to accept payment from a friend, would the limousine be insured, after all, most self-drive policies state that the vehicle cannot be used for hire and reward, and if the insurance company were to extend the insurance to cover hire and reward, would they then be complicit? The bottom line is this remains a complex area, it has not been tested, it may well be legal legal in terms of the current legislation, but in our opinion it is fraught with risk, and from what we can see, most of this will fall on the shoulders of the hirer.

There are many self-professed "experts" from the industry that frown upon any organisation that seeks to detract from their view that this is a perfectly legitimate and legal way to operate. Our view, to which we are entitled, is that even if it does prove to be legal (and this can only be proven through the courts, otherwise it is just 'counsels opinion'), is it is at best morally wrong to operate in this manner given this was never the intention of the original legislation.

Aside from any of the legal implications, hirers would be well advised to consider the fact that the reason vehicles used for hire and reward are required to have a CoIF is for your safety, otherwise, why bother? This method of circumventing the rules to achieve the same end (to carry more than 8 passengers without having a vehicle with the appropriate certification and or license) may prove legal, but it makes the requirement for a CoIF for other passengers carrying vehicles a complete farce.

The industry is placing pressure on the Government and their agencies to amend legislation to allow the carrying of more than 8 passengers and we fully support this move. However, we will not use what we consider to by a 'loophole' to circumvent regulations and laws which were intended to offer some form of protection for fare paying passengers.

Cars for Stars Limited

Office:

Cars for Stars Limited

26 York Street, London W1U 6PZ

Telephone: 0845 500 3030

Administration:

Cars for Stars Limited

12 Boughton Road, Thamesmead, London, SE28 0AG

Telephone: 020 8317 8073

 

Registered Office:

26 York Street, London W1U 6PZ

 

Company Registration:

Registered in England & Wales No: 4747524