Analysis of a new public-transport-service concept: Customized bus in China

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, mode - bus, mode - demand responsive transit, technology - intelligent transport systems, planning - route design, planning - network design, ridership - commuting, ridership - demand, operations - scheduling, operations - coordination, organisation - workforce planning


Customized bus, Demand-responsive transit, Flexible transit service, China


In recent years, an innovative mode of public transport (PT) service, known as customized bus (CB), has been springing up across China. This service, providing advanced, personalized and flexible demand-responsive PT, is offered to specific clientele, especially commuters. The present work analyzes, for the first time, the evolution of this new PT concept across 30 Chinese cities where CB systems are currently in operation or under construction. Unlike conventional bus transit service, CB users are actively involved in various operational planning activities. CB personalizes PT service by using interactive and integrated information platforms, such as internet website, telephone and smartphone. The analysis comprises three components: first, a comprehensive examination of the background of CB and its temporal and spatial distribution in China; second, an analysis of the operation-planning process, including elements of online demand collection, network route design, timetable development, vehicle scheduling, crew scheduling, real-time control, and fare design and collection: third, a summary of the results of the examination and analysis, presenting pros, cons and recommendations. The successful implementation of CB in China demonstrates that this new PT service concept can effectively meet the ever-increasing mobility needs of large populations nation-wide. Similarly, the present work can provide a valuable reference for policymakers, academic researchers, PT practitioners and others worldwide.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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