Transit user reactions to major service withdrawal – A behavioural study

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - australasia, place - urban, ridership - behaviour, policy - congestion


Public transport, Traffic congestion, Travel behaviour, Mode shift, Disruption


Public Transport (PT) plays an important role in mobility in urban areas. A major PT disruption removing all service can have a considerable impact on travel and increase traffic congestion. This paper investigates the behavioural reactions of PT users in Melbourne to removal of PT service using self-reported responses and an online questionnaire. Of the 640 respondents, 52% would switch from PT to become a car driver, 11% would switch to car as a passenger and 5% would shift to taxi/Uber. Mode shift to cars would directly contribute to an increase in congestion. By contrast, only 31% in total would switch to either non-motorised modes (cycle and walk) or trip cancellation. In order to explore factors affecting changes in travel behaviour among PT users, a multinomial logit regression model was adopted. The analysis indicates that users with a driver's license or a car were found to prefer using a car should PT be unavailable. Work trips were more likely to be undertaken by car as a driver. Users who had trips to the CBD were more likely to cancel their trips and those who accessed PT stations by car were more willing to shift to being a car driver. This paper provides new insights into how PT users change their travel behaviour in the event of major PT disruptions. Based on the findings, potential measures can be proposed to mitigate the increase in traffic congestion.


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


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