Effects of regional public transport strikes on travel behaviour

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

ridership - behaviour


In many countries strikes hit the public transport sector from time to time. These strikes are important for transportation research because they may have an impact on the perceived quality of public transport services. The traveller is forced to make up his mind about his preferences, which may induce a shift from habit driven behaviour to rational behaviour. Just a few studies have addressed the effects of public transport strikes in the past. This paper presents results from a survey among public transport users who where confronted with regional bus strikes in the Netherlands. We have data about the travel choices during the strikes and after the strikes. This allows us to (statistically) analyse the temporary and permanent effects strikes may have. During the strike, most travelers use the car or the bike (shorter trips) as an alternative to the bus. Just a few decide not to travel or to take other public transport (train). Interestingly, a large share of commuters, who travel during peak hours, decided to travel by car during the strikes. There is even more bad news for the Dutch policy maker who aims to reduce the severe levels of congestion in the Netherlands by supporting public transport. Many commuters indicate to experience shorter travel times when taking the car instead of the bus. This makes the car an attractive alternative, possibly also after the strikes. The long term behavioural patterns are not yet available, but will be included in the paper to be presented at the conference.


Permission to publish abstract given by AET.