Effects of Fare Payment Types and Crowding on Dwell Time

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, operations - crowding, operations - reliability, place - north america, planning - service improvement, policy - fares, technology - ticketing systems


dwell time, fare payment types, crowding, public transit


Dwell time, the time a transit vehicle spends stopped to serve passengers, contributes to the total reliability of transit service. Dwell time is affected by factors such as passenger activity, bus crowding, fare collection method, driver experience, and time of day. The types of effects crowding can have on dwell time are debatable because of its interaction with passenger activity and inaccuracies in its calculation. Different payment methods also have an effect on dwell time. This debate can be linked to the absence of appropriate data that can actually capture the real effects of these variables. This research attempts to determine the influence of crowding and fare payment on dwell time through manual data collection. The study was conducted along three heavily used bus routes in the Trans-Link system in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Multiple regression dwell time models are performed by using a traditional model and a new expanded model with the additional details that manually collected data provide. The traditional model overestimated dwell times because of a lack of detail in fare payment and crowding, while the expanded model showed that crowding significantly increased dwell time after approximately 60% of bus capacity was surpassed. Fare payment methods had various positive effects on dwell time, with different magnitudes. This research can help public transit planners and operators develop better guidelines for fare payment methods as well as policies associated with crowding.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, Washington, copyright remains with them.