Fare Estimation for Public Transportation in Palestine: Northern Governorates of the West Bank as Case Study

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دراوشة, خالد جميل جبر
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An-Najah National University
The aim of this study is to assess public transportation fare estimation practices by the Ministry of Transportation (MOT) and propose more solid, fair and flexible fare estimation procedures considering the current service level and key variables. It also aims to identify the relationship between the fare and the number of public transport units for a public transportation route. The study combines between Identified fare estimation variables with the results of the developed ridership demand model. The model forecasts the average daily number of passengers who are transferred by different public transportation modes (shared taxis and buses) included in this study. The results provide an estimation of the average monthly profit for the public transportation vehicles for any route, which gives the indication about the route profitability and potential to increase or decrease the public transportation units for any route. The study had investigated the public transportation operators' and travelers' satisfaction about the current public transportation fare. It shows that about 62% of public transportation operators considered the actual fare as low or very low, and about 38% consider it fair, while 69% of travelers consider it fair, and about 31% consider it high or very high. Northern Governorates in the West Bank were selected as the case study for this thesis. A sample of external shared-taxi and bus routes which link towns and villages with the centers of the governorates were studied. The methodology of the study is based mainly on quantitative and analytical methods, using the collected data and the field survey. Proper validation was conducted to ensure applicability of the resulting models. Data collection on operational and demand aspects and analysis for the studied routes showed that the public transportation fare per one kilometer of travel depends mainly on the fixed cost which is inversely proportional to the average annual traveled distance, and to a less extent on variable cost, which is affected mainly by fuel consumption rate and the fuel price, the average occupancy rate, and on the profit margin which is determined by MOT. Four equations were estimated to express the shared taxi fare for different routes which are classified according to the village/town population and the route length. Three equations were also estimated to express bus fare for different routes. Simple linear regression models were developed to estimate the total number of trips produced per household using public transportation using relevant independent variables which include the shared taxis fare, numbers of employees, enrolled university students, and the number of private cars owned by a household. The results illustrate that the fuel consumption rate and the fuel price are the main factors affecting the variable cost, but the change in the fuel price should be significant enough, in order to be reflected on the fare values. The study also illustrates that the public transport system in the study area is economically efficient with 20% profit margin. The study recommends to determine the acceptable minimum and maximum average monthly income for public transport vehicles by the MOT and other stakeholders. In addition, it is recommended to link the fare with the cost of living index. The study results could be used by the MOT to evaluate the current public transportation fare, and also to estimate the average monthly income for the operators by using the fare equations and the ridership demand model. This will assist them to make decisions about accurate fare estimation of any route and the right number of public transportation vehicles that should be operated on it.