DIAMOND buses has been under fire as passengers complain about a poor quality of service and numerous delays.

However, bosses at the company say they have been hit by a number of unexpected issues and were left with a lack of drivers following their takeover of First’s operations.

In response to the complaints, a spokesman for Diamond sent the following statement:

“Diamond Bus North West are aware that our performance hasn’t been where it needs to be and this has been in the main due to staffing levels.

“When we took over from First Bus we were approximately 60 drivers short, this was due to the Vantage services moving out of the depot and the drivers with it.

“These drivers used to cover on other routes when the demand was needed.

This Is Lancashire:

Bob Dunn, managing director of Rotala

“Since September we have been constantly recruiting. We have currently employed over 30 bus drivers and constantly continue to recruit licence holders and trainee drivers. Our training programme takes around 4/5 weeks to complete in which they gain their licence and gain experience of the routes.

“In the last couple of months we have been hit with a number of issues that were out of our control.

“In November we were expecting to receive a delivery of brand new buses these were to replace a number of double deck buses that were due to be returned to First Bus under the leasing agreement, but these did not arrive due to the manufacturer Wright Bus going into administration in October during the build of our new buses.

“This resulted in the number of single deck buses having to be used on key routes in peak periods increasing the work load on single deck buses on these routes.

“We are currently in the season where congestion impacts on the punctuality with more cars on the road as we approach the festive period especially on services in and out of towns and crossing motorways. We have also been affected with delays to our services due to planned and unplanned roadworks throughout our network.

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“Our plan throughout 2020 is to continue to improve and provide the public with a service that they expect and deserve, we are currently working with TfGM to hopefully agree a deal in the event of franchising that enables us to replace 130 vehicles during 2020.

“We continue to recruit licence holders and trainee drivers with competitive pay rates. Our aim is to run all our services and we are continuing to improve day by day on service delivery and we apologise for any delays we have caused to our customers’ journeys.”