Three Things Non-Public Transportation People Overlook When “Revolutionizing” Transit

1 minute read


I don’t like the word “revolutionize.” To me, it sounds too destructive. Instead, I prefer the words “evolve” and “progress.”

That being said, I’ve noticed that people outside of the public transportation industry tend to overlook three critical factors when introducing “innovations” or “revolutionary” changes to public transit.

  1. Routes Public transportation services people along specific, predefined routes. These routes cannot be freely changed, and shortcuts are not permitted. Despite this, I still hear people claiming that real-time ridership data will optimize public transport routes. Unfortunately, you can’t change routes in real-time. Additionally, routes rarely change, and when they do, it often causes pain and negative feedback from passengers.

  2. Schedule Public transport runs on a predefined schedule that cannot be changed in real-time. To maintain this schedule, a certain number of vehicles are assigned to specific routes. This means that canceling a late journey due to low ridership is not allowed, as it would disrupt the predefined schedule and cause inconvenience to passengers who may rely on that journey to get to their destination. In public transport, it’s essential to follow the schedule and maintain the expected level of service, even if there is low ridership at certain times of the day or night.

  3. Tariffs Public transport fares are not as flexible as a shoe store’s discounts. Tariffs are calculated, justified, and approved by transit authorities, and do not change freely according to the will of a bus company. You can’t just raise tariffs or offer discounts to attract more passengers. This lack of flexibility means that standard tricks of attracting customers or optimizing business operations don’t always work, and instead require adaptation to the industry’s specific needs.

It surprises me that these are only basic principles that should be common knowledge, yet they’re often overlooked or ignored. These are just a few examples of what people need to consider when making decisions in public transportation, and there are many other important factors to keep in mind.

Three Things Overlooked By Public Transport Revolutioners