Patronage effects of changes to local public transport services in smaller cities


Aud Tennøy

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, mode - bus, planning - service improvement, planning - route design, operations - frequency, ridership - growth, policy - sustainable


Local public transport, Public transport improvements, Patronage, Small and medium-sized cities, Sustainable mobility


The paper contributes to the scarce empirical knowledge concerning the effects of improving public transport services on patronage. It analyses cases in eight Norwegian cities, varying in size from 12,000 to 118,000 inhabitants, where bus services were reorganised into fewer, straighter, faster and simpler lines with higher frequencies. Walking distances to stops increased in some areas and services were reduced on less used routes. The interventions were followed by patronage growth of 3.3–17.6% per year over the evaluation period, contrasting the pre-change situation of lower growth or decline. Stronger focus on increasing public transport competitiveness versus cars, enhanced knowledge among planners and organisational changes leaving more power to the professionals stood out as important factors explaining why these interventions had been implemented. The results might be relevant for those involved in developing bus-based, regular, local public transport services for largely self-sustained small and medium-sized cities aiming at increasing patronage.


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


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