An econometric investigation of the influence of transit passes on transit users’ behavior in Toronto

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, ridership - behaviour, planning - surveys, planning - methods


Transit ridership, Travel distance, Transit pass ownership, Count variable model, Ordered generalized extreme value (OGEV) model, Joint OGEV-continuous model


The paper presents the results of an empirical investigation of the influence of transit pass ownership on daily transit service usage behavior under a flat fare system. The transit system of the City of Toronto is investigated to evaluate the factors that influence the choice of owning a transit pass and at the same time whether or not a pass ownership influences different transit ridership behavior. Data from a household travel survey are used to estimate a joint econometric model of the choice of owning a transit pass as a function of benefits/utility drawn from daily transit usage (trip rate and distance travel) along with different socio-economic and land-use variables. Results clearly show that a transit pass has a profound and segmenting influence on ridership behavior in terms of the daily frequency of transit trips and the total distance travel by transit. Non-pass owners seem to draw higher utility from daily transit usage than the pass owners. Pass owners seem to have utility of owning a pass over and above the utility drawn from the daily use of the transit service. A transit pass is often considered as a mobility tool, but this investigation clearly shows an empirical evidence of it. The results suggest that it works for small-size families, people with work/student status, high income and places where compact development makes transit service competitive to other modes of transportation. Empirical results show the influence of different variables can be exploited to cater to various policies that may encourage higher pass ownership rate and thereby reduce demand for private automobiles.


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