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A model of the vicious cycle of a bus line

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  • Bar-Yosef, Asaf
  • Martens, Karel
  • Benenson, Itzhak

Abstract

It has been frequently noted that in a non-regulated environment the development of public transport service is self-adjusting: Faced with decreasing demand, operators will tend to reduce service to cut costs, resulting in a decrease in the level-of-service, which then triggers a further drop in demand. The opposite may also occur: high demand will induce the operator to increase supply, e.g. through an increase in frequency, which results in a higher level-of-service and a subsequent increase in passenger numbers, triggering another round of service improvements. This paper adds to the literature by presenting an analytic model for analyzing these phenomena that we call vicious and virtuous cycles. Based on field data regarding passengers’ variation in willingness-to-wait for a public transport service, we investigate the dynamics of the line service and show how the emergence of a vicious or virtuous cycle depends on the total number of potential passengers, the share of captive riders, and bus capacity. The paper ends with a discussion of the implications of the findings for the planning of public transport services.

Suggested Citation

  • Bar-Yosef, Asaf & Martens, Karel & Benenson, Itzhak, 2013. "A model of the vicious cycle of a bus line," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 37-50.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transb:v:54:y:2013:i:c:p:37-50 DOI: 10.1016/j.trb.2013.03.010
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Li, Shanjun & Kahn, Matthew E. & Nickelsburg, Jerry, 2015. "Public transit bus procurement: The role of energy prices, regulation and federal subsidies," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 57-71.
    2. Kilani, Moez & de Palma, André & Proost, Stef, 2017. "Are users better-off with new transit lines?," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 95-105.
    3. Zhang, Fangni & Yang, Hai & Liu, Wei, 2014. "The Downs–Thomson Paradox with responsive transit service," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 244-263.
    4. Rojo, Marta & dell’Olio, Luigi & Gonzalo-Orden, Hernán & Ibeas, Ángel, 2015. "Inclusion of quality criteria in public bus service contracts in metropolitan areas," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 52-63.

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