Bus lines profitable after 1980.

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    In the beginning I create a bus line in a town, connected to a railway station. Almost all of those lines in every town are profitable in the beginning. At start my bus line cover say around 60% of the city, with 8-12 bus stops, where the industrial area is covered the least, frequency around 50 sec..Starting a second line in the town is almost never profitable.

    As soon as I start nearing 1980-2000 all my bus lines seem to only loose money. Same route, same amount of vehicles, same frequency. I know that not all lines need to be profitable, but it looks like I am loosing money on all bus lines in 2000. Has somebody avoid this situation and how? My questions:

    – Is this an imbalance problem of the game itself?

    – don you need to do extra thimgs during the years, like change the streets, make them wider or create streets with bus lanes?

    – do you change the route of the lines itself during play?

    – non profitable second lines seem so unlogical. A town with 200 can have a profitable line. Why can a city with 800 not have 2?

    -any other tips or tricks?

    -btw, tram lines are even worse. Does anybody know any good (strategic financial) reason why to use trams instead of buses except just for the fun of variation.

    • This topic was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by DK115.
    • This topic was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by DK115.

    What I find is that with modern vehicles you need fewer due to speed/maintenance tradeoff, but not so few that your frequency suffers too much. It is probably intended to keep the game challenging – too often with economic simulators once you have one or two profitable lines it’s almost impossible to go bankrupt – this game tries to keep you on your toes. Some argue that it feels a little contrived the way it’s done with cars, but my opinion is that it’s part of the game.

    So to answer your question I don’t think it’s an unintended imbalance, I think it’s by design. I revisit my lines often and reroute as the city evolves. The issue is that most of the towns in the game are not massive and usually have 4 distinct zones that a single line can cover and be very profitable. I usually use subsequent lines to connect less valued neighbourhoods and suburbs with the intention of increasing the land value there and encouraging growth – I expect these lines to barely break-even and probably lose money.

    But don’t forget that if your bus line feeds a train station then those passengers will pay again on the train and probably be profitable overall instead of leaving them to their cars. This is another tactic I use to keep traffic down – most of the traffic people complain about in the forums comes from the suburbs because they just ignore that part of the population since the buses lose money – not realising that all those extra cars on the road are damaging the main profitable bus line.

    This way with unprofitable extra bus lines you connect more people  to your train network that make your trains more profitable and reduce the traffic, which in turn makes you main bus line more profitable.

    I rarely have chronic traffic problems without using any mods or severing the inter-city roads and use bus lanes in select bottleneck locations.


    With regard to trams I really can’t see major difference – maybe I’m missing something. I usually just use buses as they’re simpler to route.


    Another thing that helps in designing bus routes is the sims will only travel to and from home. i.e. they never travel between Leisure/Work/Commerce – I guess they feel like they need to change clothes 🙂



    In regards to trams, it looks like there is no benefit in using them. I was expecting something like: as soon as a city is bigger then x then trams are more benificial because of Y. I do not see any Y.

    You claim that using more bus lines in the end makes at lesst one Bus line beneficial. Q:

    – what is your % covered in a city > 500.

    – how many stops do you have on your main bus line (average)

    – how many stops on ‘secondary’ lines (more, lees, same)

    – are they all connected to the train stations?

    – you main bus line is connected something like station> green > red > green > blue > green > yellow > green > station?







    It’s hard to say as it all depends on the town layout, for example if it’s a long town with zones in a line and residential in the middle then 2 ‘main’ lines to connect all the zones – one left and one right terminating in residential. If the zones are in a circle then I add two circle lines – clockwise and CCW. Additional suburban line(s) are then added to get the percentage up. I always put stops near junctions as that’s the only place they can cross the road. I’ll probably have an average of about 10 stops – one every 2-3 blocks. I always try to connect every line to at least one train station.

    I’m generally happy with 80%+, plus as the city grows that number drops so you have to keep revisiting cities and changing/adding routes.  I don’t think you can ever have 100% as I’ve seen people walk short journeys despite there being a bus line with quite close stops (I guess the frequency makes the line less attractive to walking)

    It really doesn’t matter if 20 bus lines on a map lose 50k each if a single cargo train brings in 2.5m. I see it as cost to encourage further city growth and future profits, as well as keep the traffic down. Plus some cities hit a sweet spot with the main bus line that can bring in 300-400k.





    I’ve seen an oddity when you have more than 1 bus line in the town. If you have 1 bus line going in a circle, the bus line will make money, but then you hurt the town coverage, thus transporting less people. If you have 2 or 3 bus lines, then likely they will make a loss, because now the sims will drive the bus nearest to his/her home. This cause the busses not to be always full and then they will loose money due to expenses in running cost.

    I also want to point out to the traffic in the game. I have Traffic DeCongestation on my PC, but not on my laptop. I then played the vanilla game on the laptop and seen many sims driving with cars, but I then found out the rail network has to be improvised to accommodate fast trains, like over 150 km/h if possible. The sims driving with the train then not travel to the next town, but the town after which means they travel past their neighbouring town. Then I make lots of money with the train and not with the busses.

    About the trams, the only benefit the trams has, is their running cost being lower than busses. I usually place them after a while the town growing and can find a perfect circle line.


    When planing your routes, one think you need to keep on your mind. Agents/sims goes from home (green) to some other color district, then back to home. Their route always start in green, their route always ends in some other color. The green district has highest concentration of travel hungry people.

    Some consequences:

    Single ring line around the city – agent travels from home to the destination by bus, but there is no way back. So he walks.

    Double ring line(clocwise-anticlockwise) around the city – agent could travel back and fort by bus. If the an agent would use the big cicrle line line from green to red like :green-green-green-blue-blue-red he probably go by walk/car cose so many stops are slow.

    Inner city transport should be considered as a feeder to your trains. If you want to take care about all people who go from home-green to the local shop-red you would loose money.

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by gGeorg.
    • This reply was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by gGeorg.

    I think it’s all down to the layout and needs of your particular town as I have recently found the reverse to be true! After unlocking the TGV upon entering the 1980s, I decided to build a high speed line to a town that I had had no direct contact with before. Just for the sake of looking nice, I decided to put one bus on a circular route to connect the entire town with the new high speed line. Amazingly, after only the second visit from the new train, the bus was always FULL (articulated 24 seater) and I had to add a 2nd to cope! Now im in the late ’90s and still both buses are making good profits. I do have the ‘Balance Mod’ installed but don’t think that would influence actual usage like that.

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