Walk, wait and ride times explain the bus system network


The structure of a public bus network is reflected in the time a bus traveler spends walking to, waiting for and riding the bus.

If you want to "improve" the time performance of a public bus system, you can decide which time relationship you want to improve.

  • To reduce the walking tine, you add bus routes so the distance is less to walk.
  • To reduce the waiting time, you add buses so the interval between buses is less.
  • To reduce riding time, you add faster buses or provide high speed lane options.
There is a problem with globally "improving" a bus system by adding more buses and routes: The operating costs can go up much faster than patronage arising simply out of shorter trip times.

At the time of my 1979 bus study, the public bus system spent 3 times more than it earned in
farebox revenue.

You can say, conventional American public bus systems operate in a "cost and revenue saddle". The total time of a bus trip can be 2x to 3x the same trip made in a private car. There simply isn't the funding or resources to drive down bus travel times by the brute direct provision of more routes, more buses and faster buses.

(Unfortunately, I have not been able to find my 1979 linear regression travel time analysis data and formulae.) I am still looking. The data was on HP-41 magnetic cards. I hope to find at least the notes and calculation work sheets.

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