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16 TABLE 15 SUMMARY OF THE REPORTED EXPERIENCE WITH THE USE OF HC BUSES Transit Agency Agency-Reported Agency-Reported Experience Customer Experience Operator Experience Type of HC Bus Very Very Very (number) good Acceptable Poor good Acceptable Poor good Acceptable Poor Articulated (24) 59% 30% 11% 84% 12% 4% 64% 32% 4% Double-Deck (3) 67% 33% 100% 67% 33% 45-ft (14) 71% 29% 100% 79% 21% Alla 64% 30% 7% 90% 7% 2% 69% 29% 2% Source: Transit agency survey responses. a Percentage does not always add to 100 because of rounding. RIDERSHIP IMPACTS OF customer's point of view, is the reduction of overloads and HIGHER CAPACITY BUSES pass-ups that occur on specific trips. This is a benefit to ex- isting riders, but does not create "new" riders per se; it may, The survey asked what had been the impact on ridership from however, encourage retention of existing riders over time, the use of HC buses. The survey responses do not provide a but this is difficult to perceive or measure. clear answer, as is shown in Table 16. Several respondents had difficulty distinguishing the Several of those reporting an increase in ridership with the ridership effects of the vehicles. One typical response was, introduction of HC buses provided their insight as to why. "Ridership has increased, but we cannot attribute that to The reported reasons were: introducing coach-type buses per se." This is equally true with new BRT systems; they introduce an integrated pack- Demand constrained by seat capacity; age of service enhancements, and although most report siz- Provides a quality image and a comfortable ride; and able increases in corridor ridership, it is extremely difficult When passengers feel better about public transit, their to isolate the impact of any single factor, such as the use of word of mouth comments raise awareness and ridership. enhanced HC buses. For respondents who indicated that the introduction of HC buses resulted in ridership increases, the typical situation ap- AGENCY-REPORTED CUSTOMER ACCEPTANCE peared to be a capacity-constrained latent demand, fre- OF HIGHER CAPACITY BUSES quently on commuter express services to park-and-ride lots. In such cases, the additional seats obtained by deploying Survey respondents were asked to assess customer accep- double-deck buses or 45-ft coaches are immediately filled, tance with respect to HC buses. Table 16 indicates that the resulting in ridership increases. transit agency respondents perceive that customers' accep- tance of HC bus service is very high. The respondents were This appears to be less apparent with respondents with also asked to identify the features that customers most articulated bus fleets. There may be several explanations. like and dislike. Table 17 provides a summary of these cited First, as discussed previously, the majority of respondents features. with articulated buses introduced these vehicles many years ago and any ridership increases that may have resulted With respect to articulated buses, customers like the re- directly from their deployment would no longer be apparent. duction of crowding that accompanies the deployment of Second, the main benefit from articulated buses, from a articulated buses. The design of the interior of the articula- tion is one of the unique issues: some systems include seats and others hip-rests. Some customers do not like the seats TABLE 16 in the articulation because of the turning movement and the AGENCY-REPORTED RIDERSHIP IMPACTS BY difficulty of seeing outside. Double-deck bus customers INTRODUCTION OF HIGHER CAPACITY VEHICLES greatly appreciate the better view available from the upper Have Observed Measurably Increased deck and these seats fill quickly on long-distance runs, Ridership Types of HC Vehicles although some customers do not like negotiating the stair- (no. of fleets) Yes No Unknown well. With respect to 45-ft coaches, these vehicles typically Articulated (24) 8 (33%) 10 (42%) 6 (25%) include enhanced customer amenities and provide a more Double-Deck (3) 2 (67%) 1 (33%) comfortable ride; these features are believed to be highly 45-ft (14) 6 (43%) 6 (43%) 2 (14%) All Three (32) 13 (41%) 12 (38%) 7 (22%) appreciated by customers, resulting in a high level of agency-reported customer acceptance. A few respondents Source: Transit agency survey responses. Note: The summation by types of HC bus does not equal the "All" number commented, however, that some customers dislike the steep because there are fleets with more than one type of HC vehicle in use. stairs and narrow aisles.