The MANAGING director of Diamond Bus North West has asked the public to be patient with their services.

Bob Dunn spoke after the company’s big announcement to ask for “more time” to fix the problems encountered by the service so far.

He said: “We’re prepared to put that investment in the hope that people will support us.

“We’re on a journey and it’s going to take a bit of time to get there.

“Please just give me a bit more time – it will get there and we’ll keep pushing for it to get better.”

Mr Dunn, who has 48 years of experience in the transport industry, wants to hear what the public think of the routes run by Diamond.

The feedback will be used by the company to target the improvements most desired by service users

He added: “We need to know what we can do better, we want to help people and we want them to support us.

“People don’t want to be hanging around waiting for a bus, they don’t want to be on a bus for two hours.

“Now we’ve taken over one part of First’s presence in Bolton there’s three providers instead of one and that’s got to be good for customers.

“We’re in competition with each other and it means we’re all trying to be better.”

READ MORE: Diamond invests millions for new buses to improve service

Diamond bought the Weston Street depot from First Manchester in August 2019.

Along with the site, the company also took on 18 commercial bus routes in Bolton and Bury.

The £5.3m takeover saw 500 staff transfer to Rotala, Diamond’s parent company, with the firm also keeping the original First fleet on loan.

Diamond has had a tough time adapting to the changes over the last six months, with people complaining of late and unreliable services.

These difficulties have been blamed on a variety of engineering hiccups, with the old buses from First needing more maintenance to keep them on the roads.

In addition to this, the team did not have a pre-existing relationship with Alexander Dennis, the manufacturers of the model, which made it more difficult for them to locate spare parts.

Diamond started to introduce their own fleet to the depot, attempting to improve the reliability of buses, but inadvertently gave themselves another challenge to overcome.

The team went from having two models of bus to work on, to 19 different models that all needed maintaining and fixing.

Engineers had to get used to the 17 new models, taking longer to get them back on the road than the older, less reliable models.

Each vehicle is serviced every 35 days, and the Bolton depot is also responsible for completing MOTs on all buses that cover Bolton, Preston, and Eccles.

When asked about what customers can expect from Diamond in the future, Mr Dunn said: “We’re going to be more active on social media, we’ve got the phones and an email address already, we just need people to use them and let us know what problems they’re facing.

“I want people to get what they expect they’re buying, at the price they think is fair, and when they expect it to turn up.

“If they think the fair rate would be £2.20 or £10 then that’s what it should be – I don’t want anybody to have to feel like they don’t get what they expect.

“We need to be creative about services, for example, if we had a service from Bolton to Manchester city centre that has 12 stops along the way we could look at putting an express service in place if that’s needed.

“It’s about working together with our passengers, our staff, the Highways Agency, and TFGM to make sure that service improves for people and it’s what they expect.”

In the last six months, Diamond has recruited 60 new drivers, and intends to recruit a further 40 by July.

The Bolton depot now has 449 drivers on site, and 83 engineers and cleaners to keep the buses on the road.

All of the 172 buses are refuelled and cleaned every evening.