The Demand for Public Transport: The Effects of Fares, Quality of Service, Income and Car Ownership

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - service quality, ridership - mode choice, ridership - elasticity, ridership - demand, policy - fares, place - urban, mode - bus, mode - rail, mode - mass transit, mode - car


Urban transportation, Travel models (Travel demand), Travel demand, Travel costs, Transportation modes, Transit, Socioeconomic factors, Socioeconomic aspects, Service quality, Rail transit, Quality of service, Public transit, Passenger service quality, Modes, Mode choice, Modal choice, Meta-analysis, Mass transit, Local transit, Intracity transportation, Income, Fares, Elasticity (Economics), Choice of transportation, Bus usage, Bus travel, Automobile ownership


This paper reports on key findings from a collaborative study whose objective was to produce an up-to-date guidance manual on the factors affecting the demand for public transport for use by public transport operators and planning authorities, and for academics and other researchers. Whilst a wide range of factors was examined in the study, the paper concentrates on the findings regarding the influence of fares, quality of service and income and car ownership. The results are a distillation and synthesis of identified published and unpublished information on the factors affecting public transport demand. The context is principally that of urban surface transport in Great Britain, but extensive use was made in the study of international sources and examples.


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