I'm curious if there are any studies based on logistics and economics of shutting down the bus/transit system before the general population's working class can go home.

For example, the small town I live in, yet large enough to have transit, a huge retirement community (might factor in), and some amenities like app-based shopping (but no Lyft type service) has a bus system that will stop at 8:30 within a 3 mile radius of the main hub, 6:30 for farther out east, and about 7:30 for west (basically early). The stores, however, close at 9 or 11, as do most restaurants.

I began to factor in a few things, and have been web-searching to see if there are any studies.

New workforce (teenagers) probably haven't saved enough for a "good" car, which I would guess encourages an older, more experienced workforce. A commuter can not shop after work (no time) nor can they work until this time. The meaningful fact is these are minimum-wage jobs, meaning that the ones most likely to need the bus after 9 are the ones who work at the stores.

Supply and demand effects, one would assume that younger employees work mornings and mid-day, and the later ones find rides through friends. Thus, the pizza/party and taxi economy thrives, but there is an unfulfilled demand for low-experienced workers in late shifts.

I am just proving I have done some thought-searching on this, as the keywords to search for, if a paper exists, tend to get me transit schedules and not studies on such.


1 Answer 1


That's a fascinating idea, and I'd thoroughly suggest additional research into the matter (especially because you might be able to conduct a quasi-experimental analysis using instances of changing public transportation schedules on labor market factors, such as Boston's temporary decision to keep the MBTA rapid transit open later).

As far as your interest in other academic studies, I'd ask for a bit more clarification for a complete answer: what is the outcome variable(s) you are most interested in? Are you thinking about the impacts on the labor market (the distortionary effect on which groups are able to take jobs in the later shifts of retail, for example)? Or are you more interested in the potential for economic growth if hours were extended?

If you clarify the above a bit more, I can try to search for more resources. However based on what you've mentioned, there are a few academic studies I found that might be of interest:

This Study by Fan, Guthrie and Levinson looks at the impact of light rail service on labor market outcomes for various types of workers. They cite two other articles (here and here) that also look into the impact of public transportation on labor market outcomes for different groups of workers. There are other citations in all three documents that you might find interesting along that dimensions.

This article by Guthrie and Fan Examines the impact of public buses on economic development in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. This study is one conducted by the American Public Transportation Association (so I might take some of their findings with a dose of skepticism) and details a variety of the economic impacts public transportation investment can have in the surrounding area.

There are a few other studies that are more tangentially related to what seems to be your central question, but still might be interesting. This article, by Bauernschuster, Hener and Rainer looks at the impact of public transportation strikes on traffic, health outcomes, pollution, and other factors. The impact on traffic is also examined in this NBER article by Anderson.

It may also be worthwhile (again, not entirely sure what your main research question is on specifically) to look outside some of the normal "econ research channels." This study in PubMed looks at the impact of Strikes in London's Underground on bicycle usage.

I hope some of those helped. If I can refine my answer further to better assist, just let me know!!

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks a lot! I'm going to be completely honest, I only recently learned a primer on econ, and I live in an area with a really bad bus system. I want to suggest that they start serving the working class, but would rather provide a sound argument vs sound like an upset citizen. I set my personal feelings aside and decided to search for said sound argument... I will honor your searching and read those articles and dig for anything I can. However, I do believe this affects more areas. I've lived in a metro area, but the bus stopped 30 min before walmart 2nd shift (I'm a programmer now, tho) $\endgroup$
    – Stephen J
    Commented May 29, 2017 at 17:24
  • $\begingroup$ FYI, I am reading those articles now and OMG they're a gold mine of information! I'm starting to fall in love with economics, esp as a way to identify ways to improve and add value with business. Thanks a lot! I will get into this so I can search for these words without always asking for assistance. :D $\endgroup$
    – Stephen J
    Commented Jun 15, 2017 at 18:51

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