DIAMOND Buses bosses at Rotala issued an apology for being ‘so bad’ at the Highways Forum meeting at Redditch Town Hall on Tuesday (November 3).
Rotala director David Squire apologised on behalf of the service to a number of county councillors, members of the public and Mayor Councillor Pattie Hill and said he would be happy to attend the forum, which runs every three months, on a regular basis.
Facing criticism from councillors and Redditch residents, Mr Squire said he had been hired as an ‘extra pair of hands’ and offered the board reassurance that eight brand new buses would arrive in the town in the first week of December.
“We have introduced additional training and have employed a route trainer – for some reason some people are still getting lost, it is beyond me why – but we are starting to get over that and where we are today is a different place to where we were on September 1,” he said.
He added he wanted to be in a position where Redditch residents could be proud of their bus provider and that customer care training is a priority.
“Passengers need to be treated the way we would want to be treated ourselves – the focus is on customer care.”
Along with plans to set up a passenger forum, the service provider is currently on a recruitment drive.
Not, as Mr Squire hastened to add, because it is understaffed but because Diamond would ‘prefer to have a lot more staff’ on its system.
But County Coun Andrew Fry (Arrow Valley West) told Mr Squire that Diamond did not need an ‘extra pair of hands’ – but a troubleshooter.
“It is really, really bad,” Coun Fry said. “I have used the bus service in Redditch for 58-years and it is the worst I have ever known.
“You’ve got a hell of a job – the service is appalling.”
Mr Squire also promised to look into complaints made during the meeting regarding the 56 and 56H services.