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Many of us review the queue waiting times for our various rides without really knowing how these numbers are calculated. It's easy to believe that waiting times accrue from the moment the guest steps onto the queue for any particular ride. There is a little more to it than this and with this article we explore the way this calculation is made.

As an example we're going to use a Corkscrew track that has a single train on it with a capacity for 100 guests. At a glance it could be assumed that because of the length of time it takes to board 100 guests that queue waiting times for the exampled Corkscrew would be excessive. For example's sake we'll assume this track makes nine circuits of the park per day and we're going to number the individual circuits traveled from Circuit 1 to Circuit 9.

We'll start with one of our guests, Mr. Gray, who enters the queue during Corkscrew's Circuit 4 and we'll determine from there when it is that the game engine starts calculating the length of his queue waiting time.


As mentioned Mr. Gray enters the Corkscrew queue while the train is on Circuit 4. There are 110 guests in the queue when Mr. Gray enters the queue. Because Corkscrew is out traveling Circuit 4 and not at the station it is not possible for Mr. Gray to board at this time so his queue waiting time calculation does not yet begin.


Corkscrew's Circuit 4 ends when Corkscrew reaches the station and guests disembark. After the guests who rode Circuit 4 disembark, Corkscrew begins boarding for its Circuit 5 departure. It is possible now for guests in the Corkscrew queue to board the Corkscrew train. Because Corkscrew is in a boarding session and because Mr. Gray wasn't already unsuccessfully waiting in the queue during the Circuit 4 boarding session, Mr Gray's queue time calculation has still not yet begun.


Because this Corkscrew train has a capacity for 100 guests, there are 100 guests before Mr. Gray who avail themselves of this boarding opportunity. Because in A above our Mr. Gray became the 111th guest waiting in the Corkscrew queue, it turns out that Mr. Gray has no such boarding opportunity this time around because the train is full after the 100 guests in the queue before him have boarded for Circuit 5's travels.


With the aforementioned 100 guests having boarded Corkscrew, it departs the station to begin Circuit 5. The calculation for the length of time that Mr. Gray spends waiting in the queue begins as of now, when Corkscrew departs the station to starts traveling Circuit 5 and when Mr. Gray begins awaiting his missed boarding opportunity. This is the same for the 10 guests who happened to arrive at the queue before Mr. Gray, and for any guest who, after Mr. Gray, joined Corkscrew's queue while Corkscrew was still boarding for Circuit 5.


Some minutes later when the traveling for Circuit 5 is completed and Corkscrew reaches the station the Circuit 5 riders start disembarking. With Corkscrew now in boarding session for Circuit 6 and with Mr. Gray now being 11th in the queue it is possible for him to board at this time. After he has boarded, because he is no longer queuing Mr. Gray's queue waiting time calculation is completed.

So we've determined that queue waiting times are calculated from the time that a guest misses one boarding session and that it continue to accrue while he waits for another such session during which he can actually board the ride.

If after D above the train breaks down, the train reaches the station with Circuit 5 completed, and guests weren't able to board until a mechanic fixed Corkscrew, this would have extended Mr. Gray's queue waiting time. Interestingly, if guests still on the train in this example couldn't get off it until the mechanic arrived, this would result in a diminished ride experience for those guests due to their having waited on the train after it had arrived at the station.

In view of the above we'd want to ensure:

Our track capacity is sufficient. When possible we should increase the capacity of our trains so that a minimum of guests remain in the queue when rides start their circuits. If our track has multiple trains we don't want too many guests waiting between each train's arrival at the station. Where a track's capacity cannot be augmented we may need to decide between accepting guests who experience long queue waiting times, or consider slightly increasing the admission price so fewer guests are attracted to the track.

Our queues aren't too long. Our queues shouldn't hold too many more guests than our rides can board at any one time which in a worst case scenario will result in guests who are waiting in the queue throughout several boarding sessions before actually being able to board the ride.

Enough mechanics are allocated to fix our rides. Mechanics need to fix rides promptly so that guest waiting times are not extended both while they're in the queue waiting to get on the attraction, and while on the attraction waiting to get off.

When building our queues we should aim to place an adequate number of queue path tiles at the start. A rough guide is to estimate that each queue path tile will hold about 15 guests. Making adjustments to the length of our queues based on how busy our park is is not something we'd want to be doing constantly. We should aim to get it right the first time around with possibly one or two or our queues throughout our park requiring additional or fewer queue path tiles due to some oversight we'd made.

We've struck a happy balance if during our park's busiest times our trains sometimes leave our stations slightly under capacity and at other times the train departs with two or three guests remaining in the queue. In spite of the fact that such a queue path may be made up of a large number of queue path tiles, that path will never fill with guests.

Additional Notes

Guests waiting in our queues when trains on very short tracks depart the station are less of a liability to our parks because the trains on such tracks will quickly return to the station.

For flat rides, if the ride is a single short circuit and has a capacity for, say, 12 guests we can just get by with a queue that holds around 30 guests (2 queue path tiles). Slight queue waiting times for such a small number of guests will have little effect on overall guest happiness or on our park rating.

If we enjoy short or zero queue waiting times on all our park's rides except for one and it is not possible to avoid long queue waiting times on the single ride, our park rating will take into account our park-wide average queue waiting times which will result in the single ride with long queue waiting times being less of a liability than we might otherwise believe. Several rides in our park each with long queue waiting times will result in higher park-wide average queue waiting times and this scenario will have a more negative effect on guest happiness and on our park rating.

On occasion we may find that on one of our tracks we need to have long queue waiting times in order to evenly space the times that trains depart the track station. Other times, based on the track configuration and the distance the station is from the main path system we may find that a very long queue made up of a large number of queue path tiles is unavoidable. You will remember of course to include queue line entertainers and queue line televisions for any queues that result in long queue waiting times for your park guests.

Learning Something New

No matter how much experience we have with RCT3 we can always learn something new from the game. In my park Hillside On The Lake, here on the queue for Monorail I was concerned about the length of time it would take for 100 guests to board so I'd placed several queue line televisions and two entertainers before fully understanding how queue waiting times were calculated, which wasn't until I had created the Financial Appraisal spreadsheets for this park, had then entered a queue waiting time of zero for Monorail, and after that wondering how this could be.

Image 01, RCT3 FAQ, Queue Waiting Times: How They're Calculated

In future parks, now I know exactly which queues need entertainers & queue line televisions, and which do not.


Queues that are packed out with lots of guests do look good when we post demonstration images about the community but such queues aren't something we'd want in a functioning, well managed park. Most of us long for lots of guests waiting in long queues throughout our parks but, regrettably, in RCT3 this is a sign of a park that is not being managed at its very best - which I'm afraid doesn't say much for the way real parks are managed in real life.