High frequency urban minibus services are appearing in substantial numbers in Britain. They are appearing in all types of urban areas from smaller towns, where entire conventional bus services are being replaced, to parts of metropolitan conurbations. The development of the 'minibus revolution' is documented here, and the operational and financial performances of minibuses are compared with those of the conventional services which they have replaced. Detailed factual information has been assimilated to illustrate the more general characteristics of minibus operation. However, within this overview the diversity of operational styles is also explored, thereby enabling an examination of the limits of minibus operation. A range of case study towns is used as a basis for these considerations. Operators providing services in these towns were interviewed on several aspects of minibus operation. The research on these specific locations was supplemented by a general literature review. This material was used to synthesise a hypothetical situation consistent with general observations, for the purpose of financial analysis. The concept of 'balancing elasticity' is defined which indicates the ridership increase required (upon conversion of conventional services to minibuses) to cover the increase in operating costs. For a service breaking-even before conversion, a service elasticity of about +0.4 is required - based on bus miles - to maintain break-even status with no fare changes. This review also deals with the launching of minibus services, ridership issues (including passenger attitudes), fares policy, vehicle matters, and working conditions and wage rates. The financial analysis shows that the reduction in round trip time observed, and (to a lesser extent) the lower wage rates secured with minibuses, are more important factors governing financial performance than unit capital and unit maintenance costs, lifespan, or vehicle availability.

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