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Another Way of Saying It

8Fs of High Transit Ridership, 8-F, Bus Graphic.jpg

With congestion, equity, and climate change challenges, it is critical to attract riders to transit!  These 8F’s, first coined by Urban Innovators, are what it takes to maximize ridership.

  1. Frequent – 15-min on long routes, 2-10 in Activity Centers, or people choose something else.

  2. Familiar – Help people become aware of transit options.

  3. Fares – No-Fare can double or triple riders, at a modest cost to replace lost farebox revenue.

  4. Fast – Some strategies cost a ton, with little return on investment.  Think "Bang for Buck."

  5. Focused – Connect the “Big Dots” via popular corridors. Direct routes are easy to remember.

  6. Fun – Attractive vehicles, stops, & creative marketing remove stigmas.

  7. Fusion – with land use. Create walkable, high-density mixed-uses near stops.

  8. Frugal – Climate change doesn't care about political ribbon-cutting glamour. Minimize cost per new rider.

  1. Frequent – 15-minutes on long-distance routes, 2-10 in Activity Centers

  2. Familiar – Branded “bus tracks,” similar to train tracks, create passive awareness of transit options.

  3. Fares – Match the market rather than repel it.  No-fare should be considered, as that can double riders if maintained long enough.

  4. Fast – Reduce time spent stuck in congestion, waiting at stops, getting to stops, and boarding.

  5. Focused – Avoid circuitous routes and low-value diversions. Direct routes are faster and easy to remember.

  6. Fun – Attractive vehicles, comfortable stops, & creative marketing remove stigmas.

  7. Fusion – Fuse land with transit.  Create walkable mixed-uses near stops, with minimal parking.

  8. Frugal – Climate change doesn’t care about “gold-plated” projects for ribbon-cutting politicians. $100-million for two BRT’s might get more riders than one light rail extension for the same price.  Converting 7 bus routes from 30 to 10-minute, plus removing fares, might get a lot more than two-BRT’s.  Bang for buck!  Minimize cost per rider.

Related Resources

We elaborate on these concepts in a white paper entitled “The Eights” of Making Buses More Like Trains! Additional topics in the paper include:

  • 8 Rules for Creating Multi-Route Branded Corridor Segments (a strategy for creating an “almost no-cost track” where 2 or more routes happen to overlap).

  • 8 Transit Enhancements to Attract Riders

  • 8 Strategies to Minimize Operational Costs and Acquire Operating Funds

  • 8 Rubber-Tire Vehicle Styles That Could Work Well for Circulation

  • 8 Examples of Branded Bus Corridors in the US and Australia


To be clear, trains may well be the right solution for many situations. We are not “anti- train!” These are ideas to help you get greater return on your investment in buses – the lion’s share of most systems.

These 8Fs are key to transportation system right-sizing

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