A model of bus bunching under reliability-based passenger arrival patterns

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, ridership - behaviour, ridership - demand, operations - reliability, planning - service level


Bus bunching, Passenger arrival process, Service reliability


If bus service departure times are not completely unknown to the passengers, non-uniform passenger arrival patterns can be expected. We propose that passengers decide their arrival time at stops based on a continuous logit model that considers the risk of missing services. Expected passenger waiting times are derived in a bus system that allows also for overtaking between bus services. We then propose an algorithm to derive the dwell time of subsequent buses serving a stop in order to illustrate when bus bunching might occur. We show that non-uniform arrival patterns can significantly influence the bus bunching process. With case studies we find that, even without exogenous delay, bunching can arise when the boarding rate is insufficient given the level of overall demand. Further, in case of exogenous delay, non-uniform arrivals can either worsen or improve the bunching conditions, depending on the level of delay. We conclude that therefore such effects should be considered when service control measures are discussed.


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


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