Do Passengers Prefer Articulated Buses to Conventional Buses and Trams?

Do Passengers Prefer Articulated Buses to Conventional Buses and Trams?


Paul Le Masurier, Chris Pownall, MVA, UK; P Cummings, Transport for London, UK


We present results from an SP survey that assesses passenger?s perceptions of articulated buses compared to conventional buses and trams, supported by qualitative research identifying specific issues that influence passengers? modal preference.


Over the past few years, significant numbers of articulated buses have entered service on the streets of London. Certainly these vehicles can easily be distinguished by passengers as being different from conventional buses, but do they perceive them as a significant improvement over more conventional vehicles? And if so, how do they compare against trams? Can articulated buses provide a comparable quality of service to tram at much lower cost?

In this paper we present findings from a recent investigation of passengers' perceptions of various public transport modes that will be used to inform forecasting work for tram schemes in London. Stated Preference surveys were undertaken in two London corridors, one served by both conventional bus and tram, and the other by conventional and articulated buses. Passengers were asked to trade-off hypothetical journeys involving the two types of public transport currently available to them, and the data obtained were used to quantify the strength of users? preference for one mode over the other.

The results from our study suggest that though there is a strong preference for tram over conventional bus, over and above differences in travel time and cost. Crucially, there is no statistically significant preference for articulated bus over conventional bus, and indeed, quite the reverse in some circumstances. Though this result may surprise some within the public transport industry, it is supported by first hand accounts obtained from passengers as part of the study that identify the specific issues that influence passengers perceptions of the quality of different types of bus.


Association for European Transport