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make taxis travel on bus routes
When full, a bus is a relatively efficient way of transporting people. However, full buses tend to only occur during peak hour. The rest of the time buses lumber around with a handful of passengers like ships-of-the-damned.
I reckon that it would be cheaper to send a few taxis along each route than
one 10 tonne behemoth bus (with associated costs of fuel, unionised drivers and maintainance).
The taxis would be spaced 20 minutes apart rather than the 1 hour between buses. This would make it much more convenient for passengers.
Mass transit router
... taxi bus would be compatible with mass transit router [ixnaum, Oct 08 2009]
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||Buses (in London again) are also generally quite full. There's a non-obvious relationship between bus frequency and fullness - as the frequency increases the fullness of buses actually increases rather than decreases because more people decide to use them. This model only works up to a point, obviously. If buses came every few seconds, they wouldn't each have thousands of people on them.
||I live in a low density city that insists on providing public transport to every suburb. The population is 300,000 and the bus service (obviously heavily subsidised by the government) is used by <10% of population runs at a net loss of (I'm guessing)$50 million per annum. If ideology and unions were taken out of the equation, there are many better ways of transporting the public transport users. For example, every person who normally catches the bus could be given $1000 a year to catch taxis (the taxi service would also need to be deregulated for this to work).
||There might be a business-model in there: The taxi drivers get paid a low(by taxi standards) fare by the occupants, but get subsidized by passengers-transported from the bus company that in turn can save on busses.
||"This model only works up to a point, obviously. If buses came every few seconds, they wouldn't each have thousands of people on them."
I think that deserves to be tested.
||Agreed - I used to like the bus until I realised that I was, at home-time, normally waiting for 2 or 3 full buses to go past before a more reasonably populated one came along - which might take between 20 minutes and an hour.