High ridership growth from extended transit service hours: an exploration of causes

Ridership growth is now a major objective of transit systems throughout the world. Increasing the quantity of service provided is acknowledged as a means of increasing ridership but it is an expensive means of achieving this. Previous research shows that ridership growth returns about a third to a half the percentage growth in expanded service kilometres invested (a short run elasticity of 0.3 to 0.5) for local bus route improvements. Only limited research has examined the impacts of extending hours of service into the evening hours. This paper outlines research aimed at exploring why higher than expected ridership growth was experienced in a project where bus route operating hours were extended into weekday and weekend evenings. Elasticities of over 0.8 were experienced on weekend services, generally above previous experience. Analysis found that where services were extended into evening hours about half of ridership growth occurred during the daytime when no changes to services were implemented. It is hypothesised that this is caused by enabling daytime outbound from home trips such that they can also return in the evening using buses. Investigation of travel behaviour patterns established that much outbound daytime travel was tied to return travel in the evening. The patterns examined were consistent with this hypothesis. The paper discusses the implication of these findings including suggestions for further research in this field.


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 13p
  • Monograph Title: Transportation Research Board 88th Annual Meeting compendium of papers DVD, January 11-15, 2009, Washington, DC

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01383969
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ATRI
  • Created Date: Aug 22 2012 4:05PM