PEAK-PERIOD SUPPLEMENTS: THE CONTEMPORARY ECONOMICS OF URBAN BUS TRANSPORT IN THE UK AND USA

This report is concerned with the worsening economic viability of bus public transport in the US and Britain, and the constraints of management and regulatory attitudes and practices that have kept the industry from efficiently adjusting to its changing market. The report considers the growing orientation of transit service to peak periods, most prominently a result of the larger decline of off-peak demand relative to that of the peak. It is proposed that established public transit authorities begin to divest of their sole responsibility for peak-period service provision, and develop a role for coordinated peak-period supplement services. The first chapter describes the industry's present dilemma, that expansion of service in peak-periods requires inordinate subsidy. The supplement innovation is shown to represent a fundamentally different operating framework than has been dominant in the industry. Chapter 2 describes the role and function of supplements. Chapter 3 reviews a variety of trends, observations, and assessments of the industry. It documents the evolution of a more difficult demand structure and operating environment, and reviews findings of recent (primarily UK) studies of public transport service provision and cost allocation, showing that deficits are primarily attributable to excessive peak-period orientation. The industry's poor and worsening productivity record, and the growth of deficit are assessed. Chapter 4 overviews recent UK developments in cost allocation methodology for bus transport, which provide enormous improvement over the long-used average cost assessment methods. Chapter 5 discusses the inefficiency-inducing effects of dated industry practices, and concludes that supplements are a practical and feasible approach to improved efficiency, as a surrogate application of marginal cost pricing. Chapter 6 briefly describes some examples, mostly recent us innovations, that support the supplement concept. The concluding chapter argues that efficiency and service maximization must become central objectives of modern public transport provision. Appendices, references, and bibliographies are included. (TRRL)

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Pergamon Press, Incorporated

    Headington Hill Hall
    Oxford OX30BW,   England 
  • Authors:
    • Oram, R L
  • Publication Date: 1979

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00319587
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Monograph
  • Files: ITRD, TRIS
  • Created Date: Jan 19 1981 12:00AM