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Abstracts from the

Journal of Public Transportation

Volume 3, No. 3, 2000

The Public Land Transport Sector in Lebanon 

M. Hadi Baaj 
The American University of Beirut 

Abstract 

Lebanon is one of the few countries in the world that allows public transport vehicles to move freely in the country without any regulation or planning. As a result, the present status of the public land transport sector in Lebanon has reached a critical state that must be reformed and organized. This article identifies the problems facing the public land transport sector. It examines the plan that has been recently endorsed by the Council of Ministers to mitigate the current situation. The plan identifies a new role for the government: It would cease being just a losing service provider and it would become the planner and regulator of the sector. This strategy is intended to ensure the existence of sufficient, affordable, and efficient transport services, provided by several private sector operators functioning under competitive conditions. Thus, the existing autonomous Railway and Public Transport Authority (RPTA) would be restructured to serve as the effective regulator, its bus operations would be corporatized (for possible eventual privatization), and all existing private sector service providers would be regulated. The article also reviews the recommendation that the government carry out two prototype projects before the entire reform plan is implemented nationwide. 

A Three-Year Comparison of Natural Gas and Diesel Transit Buses

Cameron Beach and Michael Cooke 
Sacramento Regional Transit District 

Tracy Daly
Metrolink, Los Angeles 

Bruce Finley 
SunLine Transit Agency, Palm Springs 

Cis Leroy
Transit Industry Consultant 

Abstract 

This article details the experiences of two California public transit agencies, Sacramento Regional Transit District (RT) and SunLine Transit Agency, which replaced aging diesel buses with new compressed natural gas (CNG) buses in 1994. It compares the operating characteristics and costs of 170 CNG buses (with the same engine-chassis configuration) and 73 diesel buses in service at the same time. Equipment was tested over a three-year period for a total of 22.2 million miles. The data indicate that labor, parts, and fuel for diesel equipment cost more than for CNG buses. Both agencies also achieved significant savings in hazardous waste disposal. The study indicates payback of the incremental costs of CNG equipment is realized in six to eight years, and that both communities benefit from public transit's clean air leadership. 

Niche Marketing Strategies: The Role of Special-Purpose Transportation Efforts in Attracting and Retaining Transit Users

J. Joseph Cronin, Jr. 
Florida State University 

Roscoe Hightower, Jr. 
Florida A&M University 

Michael K. Brady 
Boston College 

Abstract 

This study evaluates the use of public transit niche strategies as an alternative marketing strategy designed to attract and retain new public transit riders. Four niche efforts, a university football shuttle, professional football shuttle, summer metropolitan park shuttle, and suburban subscription vanpool are the focus of the investigation. A total of 738 intercepts provide the data for the research. The researchers conclude that niche marketing efforts are an effective strategy, and therefore should be an important tool in the public transit industry's efforts to attract and retain new riders in order to offset the prolonged decline in public transit market share. 

The Role of Information in the U.K. Passenger Rail Industry 

Glenn Lyons and Graeme McLay 
University of Southampton, United Kingdom 

Abstract 

In 1993, the U.K. passenger rail industry was privatized with expectations of greater investment, increased efficiency, and improved network performance. To date, progress has been mixed and the industry has been subject to a critical national press and passenger complaints that have reached record levels. The industry is continuing to develop a service that can do justice to its privatization. Passenger information is an important aspect of these improvements and national rail journey planning services are now heavily used. However, relatively little consideration has been given to understanding the role that information might play in assisting passengers who have already planned their journey but who encounter problems when they travel by train. Failure to execute a journey as planned can be severely disruptive to rail passengers in terms of lost time, expense, anxiety, and frustration. This article charts the development of the privatized rail industry and defines a set of journey breakdown situations that can be encountered by passengers. Insights are gained from passenger complaint letters. Such letters typically provide detailed accounts of journey breakdowns, attempts to recover the situations, and the use made of available information. Inaccurate or misunderstood pre-trip information is found to be a factor in many journey breakdowns. Accessible, timely, and appropriate provision of en-route information can improve passengers' satisfaction by enabling completion of their immediate journey and might also be decisive in ensuring they have the confidence to use the rail network again in the future. 

Factor Analysis for the Study of Determinants of Public Transit Ridership 

Sharfuddin J. Syed 
Government of North West Territories, Canada 

Ata M. Khan 
Carleton University 

Abstract 

Behavioral studies based on attitude survey questionnaires with numerous variables may be tainted with repetitions and correlations. To overcome these deficiencies, a factor analysis approach is demonstrated that produces clusters of uncorrelated factors. From 47 observable variables contained in the Ottawa-Carleton Transportation Commission (OC Transpo) attitude survey, only 8 underlying factors have emerged. Bus information service is the most important factor. In addition to factor analysis, this article reports on a logistic regression model, based on key factors, for estimating the odds of ridership.

   


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