Pollution and gridlock misery has prompted a bus operator to urge politicians for tougher action on congestion and put buses at the heart of their plans to improve local air quality in the city.
Stagecoach said passengers are paying the price for short-sighted policies and local councillors, MSPs and MPs need to come up with solutions to tackle the problem.
The company agreed to a sit down with politicians to find practical solutions such as changes to road infrastructure and layout, traffic management systems and priority schemes.
Research by Stagecoach showed that morning peak journeys times from Ferrytoll park and ride to Edinburgh bus station have increased by 30 percent since 2005 and some bus journey times for routes into Edinburgh are up to 11 percent longer during the evening peak than at other times of the day on cross-city routes.
Stagecoach East Scotland managing director Paul Thomas said: “This is not specifically about Stagecoach, or any other bus company – it’s about the impact of congestion on bus passengers and other road users in the area and the situation simply cannot continue if we are to continue improving the local bus network and improving the local environment.
“Our passengers are paying the price for short-sighted policies that have led us to this point – we urgently need politicians to take practical action to get our towns and cities moving again.
“Buses are key to delivering this – effective bus networks can boost the local economy, improve traffic flow, reduce air pollution and help improve air quality. We are playing our part by investing in improvements for customers including in digital technology, new routes and new vehicles, but we need politicians to play their part to help buses flourish. All of the tools exist for them to take action now.”
The company said that traffic congestion impacts bus customers through increased journey times, reliability, satisfaction levels as well as the cost of their ticket.
And with a 10% percent decrease in operating speed, which leads to an eight percent rise in operating cost, Stagecoach said they are forced to pass on the cost to passengers.
Greens transport spokesman Cllr Chas Booth said: “We have consistently pushed for bolder action to tackle congestion and air pollution in the city. That includes better bus lanes and more investment in cycling and walking. But there’s a lot more the council can do, which is why we have pushed hard for a low emission zone and strongly support city centre transformation to make the heart of Edinburgh much more friendly for people on bike or foot.
“Some bus companies, such as our excellent Lothian Buses, are investing heavily in their fleet. Frankly, some other bus companies need to follow Lothian’s example and put their money where their mouth if they’re serious about cleaning up the air in our city.”