The time spent waiting by bus patrons at bus stops is a primary measure for assessing the reliability of transit services. Uncertainty associated with waiting affects bus patrons’ perception of quality of the service provided. Consequently, this study aimed to determine patrons’ maximum and minimum acceptable wait times at bus stops in Washington, DC and to develop prediction models to provide decision-makers with additional tools for improving patronage.

The data used in this study was obtained by surveying 3,388 bus patrons at 71 selected bus stops in Washington, D.C. over an eight-month period. Data obtained from patrons included their ethnicity, gender, minimum and maximum acceptable wait times (beyond the scheduled bus arrival time), alternate transportation mode choice, and knowledge of bus arrival times. Additionally, data on the operational characteristic of the buses were obtained via video playback of video recordings of cameras installed at the selected bus stops. In addition, information and conditions at each bus stop at the time of each survey was recorded. Statistical analyses were conducted to determine if there were any statistically significant differences in the maximum acceptable wait time of patrons based on gender and ethnicity. Further, models were developed to predict the maximum acceptable wait time of patrons.

From the results, the mean of the reported maximum acceptable wait time was 8.5 minutes and 8 minutes, for female and male patrons, respectively. Also, the highest reported acceptable wait time beyond the scheduled bus arrival time was 20 minutes, while the mean differences between the maximum acceptable wait times of patrons grouped by ethnicity were determined to be statistically significant at a 5% significance level. Also, the results showed that White patrons had statistically significant lower maximum acceptable wait times than did patrons of other racial/ethnic groups.

Publication Date


Publication Type



Transit Issues

Digital Object Identifier


MTI Project



Acceptable Wait Time, Headway, Travel Mode Choice, Arrival Time, Bus Transit


Transportation Engineering (99 kB)
Dataset and Supplemental Materials

1801-RB-Arhin-Acceptable-Wait-Times-Transit-Stops.pdf (553 kB)
Research Brief