Use of Small Buses for Fixed Route Service in Small Urban Areas

Report No: 76-R37

Published in 1976

About the report:

The deteriorating financial conditions and service levels of both public and private transit systems in Virginia’s small urban areas have led the operators of these systems to question the desirability of continuing to operate them in their present forms. With many 40-50 passenger vehicles being operated at less than half capacity for extended periods of time, one of the more pressing questions before these transit operators is that of whether they should replace all or part of their fleets with smaller vehicles to achieve more efficient operations and services. Very little meaningful guidance in this regard existed in the transportation literature, therefore the research reported here was undertaken to determine the feasibility of using small buses for fixed route transit service in small urban areas. The report identifies many characteristics of small vehicles and relates the experiences of several small bus operations. Also, the potential uses of small buses and fixed route service in small cities are presented. The report concludes that there is presently no single vehicle appropriate for all applications of bus transportation in small urban areas as the requirements vary from one city to another according to such factors as demand in service levels, economic condition, management arrangement, geography, and weather. In view of the findings presented in the report, it has been recommended that the officials contemplating the establishment of a small bus system conduct detailed investigations to determine how well small vehicles will fulfill their needs.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

R. N. Robertson, Douglass W. List

Last updated: January 29, 2024

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