The first and most obvious thing that would get people to use the bus more would be making it cheaper. Bus systems should right now lower their costs so they make less of a profit margin right now, but will over time have a much higher profit when more people ride the bus.
Other things like accessibility would help too. One system where people can track from their phones where the bus they are waiting for is en route (ie. real time updates on when the bus will arrive) are great ways to make using the bus easier for everyone.
On the flip side, using public transport also becomes more attractive to people when fuel costs rise. When it’s more expensive to drive your own car, more people switch to riding the bus or using other forms of public transport as well. Convenience is probably the biggest factor though. Taking the bus rather than your car usually takes longer too. Some areas aren’t well connected by the route system, so you may have to change buses and that’s extra time added onto the fact that it stops every few miles or so. That makes expanding routes and perhaps increasing frequency or speed a way to improve ridership too.
It would also help if the buses actually come on time. Sometimes they aren’t consistent with their schedule. Here’s an interesting article on the topic:
I know that a lot of people worry about safety. Either on the bus or at the bus stop. If there was a way to increase peoples confidence levels in the safety of mass transit, perhaps ridership would increase
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