The trends in patronage by the main modes of public transport over the past two decades are described, and quantitative explanations given, where possible, of the changes which have taken place in terms of the main service variables (frequency, accessibility, reliability), fare levels, and the socio-economic variables (income, car ownership, land-use etc) which are mainly responsible for the background trends. The social consequences of these trends, particularly the fall in demand for bus travel and the question of subsidising services for which the users themselves are not prepared to pay, are discussed. The results of various travel surveys are described in relation to the travel "needs" and "desires" of individuals and it appears that people's travel habits are conditioned by constraints on the total amount of time spent travelling, the numbers of trips per day and the cost and effort involved in making them. The benefits of transport improvements can be seen not in terms of time or cost savings, but as an increase in choice of destination. Current work on the evaluation of the main factors affecting public transport patronage is described and the latest information on elasticities with respect to fares, service levels etc is summarised. Use is made of these and other results to indicate the likely effects of certain changes in operating policy and to discuss possible means of affecting rider-ship. A TRRL model is used to see how bus patronage is likely to be affected over the next ten years if a break-even policy is applied, and, alternatively, how the subsidy level will grow if attempts are made to hold on to the present levels of bus patronage.(a)

  • Corporate Authors:

    Transport and Road Research Laboratory (TRRL)

    Wokingham, Berkshire  United Kingdom 
  • Authors:
    • Webster, F V
  • Publication Date: 1977

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 49 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00163974
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Technical Information Service
  • Report/Paper Numbers: NLR771 Monograph
  • Files: TRIS, ATRI
  • Created Date: Dec 27 1981 12:00AM