Who stopped riding buses and what would motivate them to return? A New Jersey case study

New Jersey Transit (NJT) sponsored a research project in 2019 to examine the factors associated with bus ridership decline. As a part of that research, this paper examines the personal and geographic characteristics of the riders who stopped riding and identifies service improvements that could motivate riders to return to the bus. It uses a binary logit model and a multinomial logit model (MNL) with survey data from 2055 past and present NJT bus riders. The binary model compares current riders with all riders who stopped riding for any reason, whereas the MNL model separately compares the current riders with the riders who stopped riding for COVID-19 and the riders who stopped riding for non-COVID reasons. The results showed that ride discontinuation for both COVID-19 and non-COVID reasons is directly correlated with having disability, high education, a household car, and a driver’s license, but inversely correlated with the number of bus stops and the proportion of commuting trips by transit in the riders’ residential location. Lower satisfaction with the bus was found to be directly related to ride discontinuation. Based on survey responses, the study concludes that greater frequency during the peak periods, more reliable on-time arrivals, and more direct connections to typical destinations such as employment centers could be the three most effective strategies to retain current riders and bring back past riders. As this research also examines ride discontinuation for non-COVID reasons, it is expected to be more beneficial for post-COVID bus service planning than typical COVID-impact studies.


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  • Accession Number: 01911832
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 14 2024 9:37AM