Effects of Onboard Ticket Sales on Public Transport Reliability

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - scheduling, operations - reliability, ridership - mode choice, economics - operating costs, technology - ticketing systems, mode - bus, mode - mass transit


Travel time, Transit, Ticketing, Schedules and scheduling, Schedule reliability, Punctuality, Public transit, Operating costs, Onboard ticket sales, Mode choice, Modal choice, Mass transit, Local transit, Journey time, Intracity bus transportation, Dwell time, Cost of operation, Choice of transportation, Bus usage, Bus travel, Bus transit operations, Bus transit, Boarding


The punctuality and the reliability of public transport are key factors in the choice of travel mode, and they also affect operating costs. When travel time on a route varies significantly, public transport operators need to increase scheduled buffer time to maintain punctuality and reliability. This increases costs by increasing staffing and equipment needed to offer a given level of service. The variability in route travel time depends on many factors, including traffic conditions, number of passengers, and operating practices (e.g., boarding processes). A study was done to evaluate the impact of one boarding subprocess, ticket sales, on bus dwell time at stops. The research confirmed that onboard ticket sales can significantly affect a public transport line’s travel time and reliability. The research showed that onboard ticket sales subprocesses are relatively long and vary significantly; consequently, they strongly influence schedule reliability. Results showed that the time spent selling tickets can be up to 20% of the total run time. However, the biggest problem is the great variance in time spent on the ticket sales process.