Rush hour commuting times across Tayside have soared in the past decade, according to a local bus firm.
Stagecoach East says that congestion has caused the time taken for some journeys in Dundee and Perth to increase by up to a third in the last decade.
The company is now calling for fresh action from politicians to help it reduce congestion and emissions throughout Tayside.
Stagecoach East managing director Paul Thomas said “short-sighted” transport policies are having a major impact on local bus users.
His comments come after Transport Minister Humza Yousaf retabled new proposals at Holyrood to improve local bus services.
Mr 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 carry on improving the local bus network and our 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.”
According to the bus company, afternoon peak journey times on Stagecoach services from Ninewells Hospital to the city centre have increased by 20% in the last 10 years.
Morning peak journey times between Broughty Ferry and Seagate have also increased by 31% over the same period.
In Perth, meanwhile, morning peak journey times from Walnut Grove into the city centre have risen by 33% since 2010
Mr Thomas added: “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 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.”
Stagecoach has written to local MPs, MSPs and councillors about the impact of congestion and how it is affecting customers every day.
The company has also reported a 10% decrease in operating speed leading to an 8% rise in operating costs – with fears it could lead to fewer people using buses.
The Transport (Scotland) Bill – which could see the introduction of low emission zones in cities, a ban on pavement parking and improvements to smart ticket schemes – is currently making its way through the Scottish Parliament.
Xplore Dundee’s new managing director Christine McGlasson recently told the Tele that congestion was a major issue affecting journey times for city customers.
According to research issued by Greener Journeys, the UK Government’s seven-year freeze on fuel duty has resulted in a 4% increase in traffic since 2011.
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “Stagecoach is referring mainly to local roads and city centre congestion in this instance, although we do appreciate the frustration that delays can cause on our trunk roads and motorways too. Since 2007, more than £6.5 billion has been invested in the network and that includes major improvements which can bring congestion relief, not only on the trunk road network but to local roads, resulting in benefits for car and bus users.
“We are continuing to spend more than £250 million a year to support our vital bus industry, allowing operators to keep fares at affordable levels and provide free bus travel to older and disabled passengers.
“We also provide support to local authorities via the block grant so that they can support socially necessary bus services.
“We have also doubled our active travel budget from £40m-£80m which will greatly improve public health and ease congestion.”