Public transport in rural areas is under pressure because demand is low and dispersed. To reduce costs, flexible and on-demand services are often proposed as alternatives for conventional bus services. Conventional services are generally not suitable for rural areas, because the demand is low and dispersed. In this paper, a stated preference survey is designed to identify the preferences of rural bus users for alternative services. Other than the traditional bus, two other modes are included in this study: a demand responsive transport (DRT) service and an express bus service with bike-sharing services for last mile transport. Given the on-demand nature of these alternatives, flexibility-and reliability-related attributes are included in the stated preference survey. The results from the choice model indicate that the reliability and flexibility aspects do not have a large effect on the preference for the on-demand alternatives. Instead, cost, access and egress times, and in-vehicle time play a bigger role in individuals’ preferences toward the different alternatives. A sensitivity analysis shows that changes in the operational characteristics can make the on-demand alternatives more attractive. However, many bus users still prefer the conventional bus service over the on-demand alternatives.
|Name||Transportation Research Record|