Passengers with Lothian Buses are more disgruntled with delayed services than at any other time in at least the last four years.
Amid frustration with roadworks and congestion, 85 per cent of travellers said they were satisfied with punctuality on Edinburgh’s main operator – down from 91 per cent in the first survey by watchdog Transport Focus in 2013.
Unhappiness with hold-ups on operator First’s services in south-east Scotland was even greater, at 75 per cent – down from 86 per cent in 2014.
Transport Focus said the fall in satisfaction with punctuality was “mainly attributable to traffic congestion and roadworks”.
Overall satisfaction with Lothian Buses was also down, from 96 per cent – the best in Britain – in 2013 to 93 per cent.
However, it remained equal best in Scotland alongside Stagecoach in the south east, south west and Tayside/Central.
First’s overall rating in south-east Scotland fell to 87 per cent from 92 per cent in 2014.
The Confederation of Passenger Transport, which represents bus operators, called for more bus priority measures and segregation from other traffic to help speed up services.
It said: “Congestion is having an increasingly damaging impact on passenger satisfaction and undermining the attractiveness of bus travel.
“Slow buses and other road vehicles held up in congestion also cause pollution, which is reducing air quality and damaging public health.”
Richard Hall, managing director of Lothian Buses, which carries 350,000 passengers a day, said it was “absolutely delighted” to remain among the best performing operators in the UK – but admitted there was “no room for complacency”.
He said: “Edinburgh is an increasingly popular city and congestion is a huge operational challenge. It is vital we continue to work in partnership with the council to improve bus priority measures and schemes in order that the negative increases in customer journey times can be addressed and turned around for the benefit of our customers.”
City transport leader Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “Traffic delays are frustrating for all road users, which is why the council strives to minimise congestion within the city as far as we can.
“Our control room monitors traffic and congestion and enables regular amendments to signal timings at peak times to help traffic flow.
“We work closely with public utility companies to ensure non-emergency roadworks are planned and coordinated as carefully as possible.
“As a major tourism and events destination, Edinburgh’s road network faces additional pressures at certain points of the year, particularly during the summer festival season.
“We work extremely hard to mitigate the impact of extra traffic on our roads during these periods, promoting public transport and active travel [walking and cycling] to visitors and using our CCTV network to keep a close eye on any potential hotspots.”