POLICE officers have been drafted in to look after revellers at Largs taxi rank - after council chief revealed no security firm wanted the job.
Concerns have been voiced that the absence of the taxi marshals - who were brought in around ten years ago to tackle drunken disorder and assist revellers - could compromise public safety.
Their absence has also been criticised by local taxi operators.
Elaine Connor, owner of Bond Cars, said: "There was a police presence last weekend.
"Two officers were sitting in a car at the side of the station but the taxi marshals would be on the rank controlling the queue and spotting the first signs of trouble.
"The drivers certainly appreciated their presence as things can get heated late on at night when there are less taxis available and a large queue of wanting home.
"They were of benefit to the drivers and the customers in ensuring a quick and easy pick up.
"It makes me wonder where all our money paid to the Licensing Board is spent?". 
The matter was also raised at the latest Largs Community Council meeting.
Margaret Wood, who sits on the police sub-committee, said the force had allocated resources to provide more coverage of the taxi ranks.
She added: "If anything happens elsewhere in the town though, the police will have to move on to deal with that. What it means is that we are not going to have the coverage at the ranks as we have had in recent years. There will be extra police working in the town during the festive period though, including the January 2, which is one of the busiest days in Largs."
Mrs Woods added: "At least we have some police coverage at the rank - it is better to have some coverage than no coverage at all."
The taxi marshals have been considered successful since launched, and have been praised by taxi rank users, even providing flip flops for ladies to take a rest from their high heels.
In previous years, taxi marshals were put in place over five weekends in and around the festive season, as well as during the busy days such as Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and January 2.
A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson: “We had hoped to continue with the taxi marshal programme in Irvine, Largs and Saltcoats over the festive season and advertised for a contractor through our normal procurement process.
“Unfortunately, we did not receive any interest from companies who provide this type of work.
"Nevertheless, to ensure the service can continue in some format, we are working in partnership with Police Scotland and have provided additional financial resources to allow them to deliver enhanced coverage over the Christmas and New Year period."
Former Largs police inspector Joe Conway told the News: "Taxi marshals are a great help in preventing minor skirmishes at taxi queues, and helping people get home safely."
The council denied that they were late in tendering to bring in marshals.