Older taxi and private vehicles can be licenced for longer in South Ayrshire because of the pandemic, councillors decided. 

Under a temporary rule, taxi cars can have a licence for up to 12 years while private hire vehicles are authorised to operate for eight.

Normally taxi licensing ends when the cars reach 11 years.

The figure is seven years for private hires. 

Ruling Labour and SNP councillors sitting on the Leadership Panel approved the extension on Tuesday (April 27).

The licensing extension will run from May 1 to April 30, 2022.

Labour Councillor Philip Saxton, a private hire driver, said: “If drivers need to buy a new car they have an extension of a year before they have to replace it.”

He said it may be considered for further extension beyond next April depending on the situation with the pandemic.

Calls for the new operating age limit for cabs were made at a South Ayrshire Taxi and Private Hire Operators Forum in February.

A council paper submitted to the Leadership Panel said members of the forum stated that the "trade had been very adversely affected by the pandemic and that in the past year most taxi and private hire vehicles had not traded as normal and had not covered the number of miles they would normally have anticipated.”

The paper added that “licence holders with vehicles, which were approaching the eleven-and seven-year age limit when vehicles would normally have to be replaced would struggle to be able to afford finance at the current time.”