Determinants affecting ferry users’ waiting time at ferry terminals

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, mode - ferry, operations - capacity, planning - surveys, ridership - behaviour


Capacity problems, Ferry services, Headway time Public transport, Waiting time


The paper develops a model to examine how different factors influence ferry users’ waiting time at the terminals. The estimations are based on interviews of 10,952 Norwegian ferry travellers just after they boarded the ferries. The interviews were conducted in 2013 at 16 of the most important ferry connections in Norway. The average headway and waiting time at the terminals were 52 and 15 min, respectively. By comparison, average sailing time at the services in question was 38 min, indicating that waiting-time costs at the terminals make up a large proportion of ferry users’ time costs. The model’s results show that the users’ waiting time at the terminals increases concavely with the ferries’ headway and distance travelled to the terminals, that is, the marginal effects of these factors diminish when their values increase. The first result indicates that the proportion of ferry users arriving randomly at the terminals decreases with the ferries’ headway. The model also reveals that a large proportion (20%) of the waiting times at the terminals is due to the travellers being unable to board their desired departure because of the ferries’ capacity restrictions. Other variables, like the mode of transport travellers’ used to get to the terminals, their income, and how often they used the service, influence waiting time significantly in the hypothesised directions, even though some (e.g. income and trip frequency) have very moderate influences on waiting time.


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