A NEW taxi scheme has been launched following the death of a teenager in a bid to make sure students get home safely.

Stirling University drew up the plan after the disappearance of David O'Halloran, 18, who got out of a cab before he reached his accommodation because he did not have the cash to pay the fare.

Students on nights out without enough money to get home to their accommodation can now use their matriculation card and signature as a way to pay.

Taxi companies will then charge the university, with students being billed for the full fare later.

The initiative follows the disappearance of Stirling student Mr O'Halloran in January after he took a taxi home from a nightclub and got out about two-thirds of a mile from his destination.

Police Scotland yesterday confirmed the body discovered in a wooded area above Bridge of Allan on April 18 was that of Mr O'Halloran.

Twelve local taxi companies have signed up to the initiative which was developed with the help of Stirling Students' Union, Police Scotland and Stirling Council.

Sam Gibbs, president of the students' union, said: "It is important that, if students do find themselves in a difficult or exceptional situation, there are mechanisms in place to help them get home safely."

The safe taxi scheme covers journeys costing up to £15 to all term-time rented or university accommodation and will run seven days a week between 9pm and 7am.

In exceptional circumstances, if students have misplaced their cards they will be able to use the scheme by showing alternative ID or their unique student number.

Robert Fowler, chairman of the Stirling Taxi Association, said the scheme would provide "a safety net for students in emergencies".

However, Mr O'Halloran's mother, Donna, asked why the scheme did not go further and called it "too little, too late".

Following confirmation the body was Mr Halloran's, his father, Alan McInnes, said: "These past three months have been long and challenging, stressful and filled with worry and hope in equal measure.

"My son is irreplaceable. Without him our family will be incomplete."