Taxi and private hire operators in South Ayrshire are being urged to remember their responsibilities when it comes to vehicle maintenance after concerns over a "worrying trend".

South Ayrshire Council’s Regulatory Panel issued the reminder amid concerns over the conditions of vehicles in the authority.

There are currently 99 taxi and 149 private hire licensed vehicles operating across South Ayrshire.

Once of the conditions of their licence to operate, is that taxi and private hire vehicles must undergo an annual inspection and an MOT.

This test should take place every six months if the vehicle is over seven years old.

The purpose of the test is to ensure that the high standards in the South Ayrshire taxi and private hire trade are maintained.

Every vehicle should be safe and roadworthy in the interests of public safety, as well as in an acceptable and comfortable standard for passenger travel.

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At the last meeting of the Regulatory Panel, councillors heard that of the 32 taxi vehicle tests that took place between January 1 – March 31, 2023, there were six fails (19 per cent) compared to just two fails (six per cent) during the same period last year.

For private hire vehicles, of the 38 vehicles tested between January 1 – March 31, 2023 there were 11 fails (29 per cent) which is similar to this time last year.

Councillor Kenny Bell, chair of South Ayrshire Council’s Regulatory Panel, said: “This is a worrying trend, and one we would like to address. 

“We’re reminding operators that they have a responsibility to check their vehicles regularly and to ensure they have robust inspection and maintenance plans in place.

“Passengers and other road users need to be confident that these vehicles are well maintained and roadworthy at all times.

“Where there is a pattern of failure for a particular vehicle, we do have the power to suspend a licence. This would always be a last resort, but safety must be our primary concern.”