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People who are used to getting around by a private vehicle (car or bike) often underestimate the importance of frequency, because there isn’t an equivalent to it in their experience.
A private vehicle is ready to go when you are, but transit is not going until it comes.
Frequency Matters First, you really must understand transit frequency.
It’s the elapsed time between consecutive buses (or trains, or ferries) on a line, which determines the maximum waiting time.
High frequency means transit is coming soon, which means that it approximates the feeling of liberty you have with your private vehicle – that you can go anytime. At the opposite extreme, if you live in a single family house with a driveway and usually get around by car, imagine that there were an automated gate at the end of your driveway that only opened once an hour, on the hour.
When it’s closed, you can’t get your car in or out.
The objective, instead, is to satisfy (a) and/or (b) above.
Obviously the company would go bankrupt staffing all of these shops dotted across the prairie, miles from the nearest town, each with a smiling team waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for a customer to appear.
So in the real world of business, a rancher in North Dakota may have to drive 50 miles to find a Mc Donalds, because the only one will be in a large town where there are enough customers.
In democracies, whoever makes the decisions for a transit authority is accountable to voters.
These officials listen to their constituents, and sometimes decide that to some degree, low-ridership services are necessary and important.