DIAMOND Buses has been hit with a £9,000 penalty for the poor punctuality of services delivered to Wyre Forest passengers.

Traffic Commissioner Nick Denton published his findings following a public inquiry, held in June in Kidderminster, and said people in the area had been “poorly served”.

He said that the penalty – totalling £9,075 - would be used to compensate affected passengers, especially on the “problematic” Kidderminster to Areley Kings route 3 service.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency will also continue to monitor Diamond’s performance in the area.

But the company escaped having its licence revoked or suspended – a penalty the traffic commissioner could have imposed following the inquiry.

A Diamond Bus spokesman said the company was considering whether to appeal the fine.

Mr Denton said Diamond’s final rate of compliance for buses being on time was 91.1 per cent which fell below the commissioners’ target of 95 per cent of services being no more than one minute early or five minutes late.

During the hearing, the firm’s solicitor Jonathan Backhouse presented a string of reasons for delays to services such as the ongoing M5 roadworks, temporary lane closures and driver sickness resulting in lost services.

And while some of these were accepted, Mr Denton concluded that little improvement had been made since a previous inquiry held in 2016.

He added he would be discussing how the fine will be used to recompense passengers but said this could take the form of free or reduced form of travel.

Mr Denton has also ordered Diamond to keep him informed of the company’s own investigations into an incident where a bus lost its wheel on June 13 this year.

In his report, he said: “Diamond Buses Ltd has made little substantive progress on timetable reliability since the public inquiry in 2016, despite the measures it has introduced.

“Despite the undoubted operational difficulties encountered by Diamond, passengers in the Kidderminster area have been particularly poorly served.

“The company should be in no doubt that the reliability of its services must improve further.”

He added: “I am not making any adverse findings about the repute of the company or transport manager Robert Baker.

“Mr Baker struck me as a conscientious and decent person who is doing everything in his power to improve services.

“It is clear, however, that these efforts have not yet fed through to produce services of a reliability, in some areas at least, which passengers have the right to expect.”

A Diamond Spokesman said: "The Traffic Commissioner has decided that it is appropriate to levy a Penalty against Diamond Bus Ltd. 

"At the present moment in time, we are in discussion with our lawyers to decide whether to appeal this decision. 

"We are unable to comment further at present.”