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Old 11-30-2012, 12:38 AM
 
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What if bus stops had buttons you push to summon the next bus like you press the button at an elevator? I think something like this could work, especially in cities that aren't very dense and don't have a constant demand to justify fixed routes that carry few passengers.

Has anything like this already been introduced or implemented anywhere?
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Old 11-30-2012, 12:58 AM
 
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instant on-demand transit?
I think they already have something like that. its called a taxi.
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Old 11-30-2012, 01:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
instant on-demand transit?
I think they already have something like that. its called a taxi.
Taxis are more on-demand private transit. This would be more of a hybrid between a taxi and a bus. It wouldn't pick them up wherever, only at designated stops and the same with where they'd be dropped off, meaning they might have to walk a little ways to get exactly where they're going, like they would taking public transit.
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Old 11-30-2012, 02:00 AM
 
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Here's a video discussing this kind of approach:

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Old 11-30-2012, 08:38 AM
 
Location: NYC
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You are describing para transit or demand responsive transit service. It's used in lots of small areas to serve people who aren't on the handful of scheduled routes. Usually you have to arrange for travel 24 hours in advance
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HandsUpThumbsDown View Post
You are describing para transit or demand responsive transit service. It's used in lots of small areas to serve people who aren't on the handful of scheduled routes. Usually you have to arrange for travel 24 hours in advance
Yup. Here's a good visual by wikipedia:



Demand responsive transport - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Paratransit isn't really for public use like a normal bus, because it's a special service that picks up the elderly and is largely subsidized (from the metros I've lived in).

Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) is more in the public realm, but it typically services sparcely populated areas.

I don't see how "On Demand Public Transit" could serve densely populated areas as cheaply as traditional public transportation. The mix of short and long distance trips (as well as start and end locations) within a dense urban area would seemingly be too unpredictable and random to service more than a group or two of passengers at a time, elevating cost for the passenger. Might as well take a cab.
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:47 AM
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Location: Western Massachusetts
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While my local bus system is highly subsidized, the paratransit operations take a disportionate amount of the subsidy.
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by HandsUpThumbsDown View Post
You are describing para transit or demand responsive transit service. It's used in lots of small areas to serve people who aren't on the handful of scheduled routes. Usually you have to arrange for travel 24 hours in advance
The main difference between this concept and the paratransit services is that this would be available on a much wider scale so that rather than being an occasional request and requiring a 24 hour notice, the ride would be able to show up within minutes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
Paratransit isn't really for public use like a normal bus, because it's a special service that picks up the elderly and is largely subsidized (from the metros I've lived in).

Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) is more in the public realm, but it typically services sparcely populated areas.

I don't see how "On Demand Public Transit" could serve densely populated areas as cheaply as traditional public transportation. The mix of short and long distance trips (as well as start and end locations) within a dense urban area would seemingly be too unpredictable and random to service more than a group or two of passengers at a time, elevating cost for the passenger. Might as well take a cab.
This would definitely be closer to DRT but rather than mainly service rural areas it could serve smaller cities and less dense metros with little or no public transit infrastructure. I agree that it is not ideal for dense urban areas that already have a solid transit network.

I can't count the number of times I've waited 30+ minutes for a bus to come, only for it two be a doubled-up 'megabus' with 0-3 passengers. It just seems inefficient and a waste of resources to me.
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:47 PM
 
Location: NYC
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This is a good analysis of why this sort of system won't work on a large scale:

Human Transit: Demand-Response

However, for the low-demand line you describe: "
Quite possibly, personal apps will allow demand-responsive service to replace some low-demand fixed-route buses, which is fine with most transit planners. Those low-ridership buses run mostly for social-service or "equity" reasons, and if there's a more efficient way to do that, I expect many transit experts would be all for it. It would let them concentrate on the high-ridership, high-capacity services that can achieve a great deal of personal mobility and sustainability, very efficiently. "
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:28 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HandsUpThumbsDown View Post
You are describing para transit or demand responsive transit service. It's used in lots of small areas to serve people who aren't on the handful of scheduled routes. Usually you have to arrange for travel 24 hours in advance
Some of the cities within the Denver RTD have "Call and Ride" which takes people from door to door for the price of a regular local ride. I do not know all the details of how this service works, but I do see the Call and Ride buses frequently at the hospital/medical office complex where I work.

http://www.rtd-denver.com/callNRide.shtml
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