By Stuart Cole
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Extra resources for Applied Transport Economics: Policy, Management & Decision Making
2 Bus patronage 1990–2000 Source: House of Commons HC 828, The Bus Industry 2001–2002, London 20 Market Demand On some local London services the service interval varies and can lose passengers to more frequent and regular Underground competing services. PEAK DEMAND Why the peak problem is particularly bad in transport There are various reasons why the problem in transport is particularly bad. 1. The transport product cannot be stored; it must be supplied when required and consumed immediately. Therefore, if a bus, train or plane has spare capacity when it leaves, this cannot be used later for the same journey.
On its return morning journey out of the central area terminus it might run empty to the depot. Travel patterns on London Underground show peak (LT, 2002) demand to be three times that at midday when an average of 70 per cent of peak trains operate. Underground travel increases sharply during weekday peak times, falling to much lower levels during the off-peak. Bus trips and troughs are less pronounced. Weekend travel patterns show a more even distribution of trips during the principal shopping hours.
First, the operator can decide not to provide the facility thus producing a financially, though not necessarily socially, better result. Train operating companies provide fewer extra summer services than twenty years ago partly because demand has fallen, but also because of the cost of maintaining a back-up fleet of rolling stock to cover such demand. The interworking of services can also result in certain departures being overcrowded because the train set capacity is only adequate for the remainder of the working day (or even working year).
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