This study was prompted by the proposal to merge a number of municipal transport undertakings into Passenger transport Authorities. The authors analyse figures showing various working expenses per bus-mile, and find no evidence of scale economies. They point out, however, that the P.T.A.s will be larger than any undertaking in their sample, and that a different conclusion might conceivably be reached if data were available on costs per passenger-mile. Extension of one-man operation appears to offer greater scope for economies than amalgamation.
Topic: 1. Surface Passenger transport
First, a simple theoretical model is developed that determines optimal prices for private and urban transport services in both the peak and off-peak periods of the day, taking into account all relevant private and external costs. Second, the model is implemented to study pricing policies in Belgium, using recent estimates of private and social marginal costs. Several applications are then considered.
Exceptional changes in bus and underground rail fares in London in the early 1980s prompted analyses of the effects of fare levels and petrol prices upon the numbers of road casualties in London. Earlier estimates of the number of extra casualties associated with a period of unusually high fares in the early 1980s are shown to have probably been too high.
In public transport systems with self-service fare collection passengers can decide whether to pay the fare or not. A passenger who does not pay is subject to a risk of being fined. The paper provides some empirical support for the hypothesis that passengers behave as expected utility maximisers.
Because values of time and passenger behaviour depend on the level of frequency it is found that: (1) in urban public transport there may be one low-deficit local optimum and one high-deficit local optimum, one of which is global; (2) contrary to what might be expected, optimal financial deficit per passenger is typically larger for high frequency services than for low-frequency services; (3) the optimal off-peak may exceed the optimal peak price.
From his study of elasticities the author concludes that patronage of public transport in Spanish cities could be increased by adjustment of the proportionate charges for cash fares and multiple-ride tickets, and by increasing fares to provide higher frequencies.
Pricing rules are derived under different objectives for schemes including travelcards and ordinary tickets. To calculate the effects on revenue of different combinations of fares it is necessary to know the distribution of the population in terms of trip behaviour.
In determining the level of subsidy, and its use in reducing fares or increasing frequencies, weight should be given to the comparative benefits accruing to different income groups. A local authority will be influenced in its decision by the proportion of the cost that is borne by central government.
Public transit firms may be able to reduce operating deficits by providing paratransit and contracted-out services. Contracting out can induce employees and their unions, fearful of job losses, to accept changes in working agreements which reduce costs to the firm.