Should you walk or wait if your bus is late?
by David Masters
February 16, 2009
There’s nothing more annoying than waiting so long for a bus that you could have walked to your destination.
Equally frustrating is to start walking because you’re fed up waiting, only to be passed by your bus two minutes later.
In an effort to minimise these annoyances, three US students have come up with the ‘bus-wait formula’ to calculate whether you’ll be best waiting or walking.
The student’s formula is featured in the New York Times annual Ideas Issue.
“We were sick of sitting at a bus stop, not seeing the bus and torturing ourselves over whether we should start walking,” said Robert Kominers, Justin Chen and Robert Sinnott.
According to their formula, waiting is almost always the best option.
Even if you walk and catch the bus half-way along your route, you won’t have arrived any faster, they said.
And by waiting, you can ‘optimise’ your time by getting some work done, talking with friends, or reading a book.
Furthermore, people who walk usually wait at every subsequent bus stops for a few minutes, increasing their frustration and dragging out their journey.
The only exclusion is if you have less than a mile to walk, and your bus is likely to take more than 30 minutes to arrive, in which case, you’re better to walk.
“Laziness almost always works,” Konimers concludes.
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