The owners of Los Angeles-based TourCoach Charter and Tours got their start in the industry in 1968 with the creation of Starline Tours. Still in existence today, Starline Tours goes hand-in-hand with Los Angeles tourism. While it offers guided trips of prominent Californian cities, the brand is most famous for its iconic red double-decker buses often spotted around Hollywood and popular celebrity home tours in open-top mini buses.
At its start, Starline Tours’ fleet consisted of three limos, five motorcoaches and a few minibuses, which provided local Los Angeles services. This included city tours as well as trips to and from Los Angeles International Airport, Disneyland and Universal Studios.
However, the company had a regular client who expressed interest in traveling out of town and encouraged the company to expand. This idea led to increased tour services for Starline Tours and eventually to the birth of its sister brand TourCoach Charter and Tours in 1993.
Between the two brands, clients can travel to California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona, with some services to the east coast as well.
Unlike Starline Tours, TourCoach primarily offers charter services, though tours can be provided if requested. Its biggest customers are athletes, businesses and Rose Bowl attendees. According to TourCoach’s CEO/Founder Noonoosh Sapir, schools and universities were recently added to their client list to increase business during the slow season.
Currently, TourCoach has 75 buses, both small and large models, in its fleet. Vehicle makes mostly consist of Setra, MCI, Prevost and Temsa.
“Every year we add buses to our fleet,” Sapir says. “And having the proper number of drivers in each location helps us too. I can tell you that our loyal staff who have been with us for over 30 years are key factors to our success and growth.”
In 2014 alone, Sapir and her colleagues purchased 12 new buses for TourCoach. This includes the new Setra S 417 (see cover), which is equipped with luxurious features such as club corner seating, a second door and stairwell for easy passenger loading, a TopSky glass roof, Wi-Fi, light sensors, updated passenger electronics and cameras.
“With the new buses comes much newer technology, making the service far more comfortable for the client experience,” Sapir says. “They have been impressed so far.”
Contributing to client comfort is TourCoach’s longstanding focus on customer relations. The founders of TourCoach pride themselves on their comprehensive approach to achieving satisfaction, which they have perfected since the early days of Starline Tours.
At TourCoach, customer service policies are reviewed every six months — prior to the busy season and then again after. Any complaints are investigated and responded to quickly. As well, all drivers and staff members attend continuous in-house training throughout the year on topics ranging from maintenance and safety procedures to client interactions.
However, Sapir believes the key to customer satisfaction is really through the employee and driver mentality.
“I have a close relationship with the staff and our drivers,” Sapir says. “I don’t feel that the company is only mine — it belongs to all the staff. We’re like family. As a result, I think our drivers are all geared toward providing a service for the client and making them happy because they have a strong sense of ownership and belonging. It’s their bus, their clients, their company.”
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