Policy analysis of third party electronic coupons for public transit fares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Mobile technologies are generating new business models for urban transport systems, as is evident from recent startups cropping up from the private sector. Public transport systems can make more use of mobile technologies than just for measuring system performance, improving boarding times, or for analyzing travel patterns. A new transaction model is proposed for public transport systems where travelers are allowed to pre-book their fares and trade that demand information to private firms. In this public-private partnership model, fare revenue management is outsourced to third party private firms such as big box retail or large planned events (such as sports stadiums and theme parks), who can issue electronic coupons to travelers to subsidize their fares. This e-coupon pricing model is analyzed using marginal cost theory for the transit service and shown to be quite effective for monopolistic coupon rights, particularly for demand responsive transit systems that feature high cost fares, non-commute travel purposes, and a closed access system with existing pre-booking requirements. However, oligopolistic scenarios analyzed using game theory and network economics suggest that public transport agencies need to take extreme care in planning and implementing such a policy. Otherwise, they risk pushing an equivalent tax on private firms or disrupting the urban economy and real estate values while increasing ridership.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-250
Number of pages13
JournalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
Volume66
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

Fingerprint

pricing
electronics
transport system
public transport
firm
Costs
Stadiums
travel
cost theory
Game theory
Taxation
Sports
marginal costs
demand
game theory
public private partnership
real estate
taxes
transaction
private sector

Keywords

  • Automated fare collection
  • Electronic coupon
  • Game theory
  • Marginal cost theory
  • Public transport
  • Revenue management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation

Cite this

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title = "Policy analysis of third party electronic coupons for public transit fares",
abstract = "Mobile technologies are generating new business models for urban transport systems, as is evident from recent startups cropping up from the private sector. Public transport systems can make more use of mobile technologies than just for measuring system performance, improving boarding times, or for analyzing travel patterns. A new transaction model is proposed for public transport systems where travelers are allowed to pre-book their fares and trade that demand information to private firms. In this public-private partnership model, fare revenue management is outsourced to third party private firms such as big box retail or large planned events (such as sports stadiums and theme parks), who can issue electronic coupons to travelers to subsidize their fares. This e-coupon pricing model is analyzed using marginal cost theory for the transit service and shown to be quite effective for monopolistic coupon rights, particularly for demand responsive transit systems that feature high cost fares, non-commute travel purposes, and a closed access system with existing pre-booking requirements. However, oligopolistic scenarios analyzed using game theory and network economics suggest that public transport agencies need to take extreme care in planning and implementing such a policy. Otherwise, they risk pushing an equivalent tax on private firms or disrupting the urban economy and real estate values while increasing ridership.",
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AB - Mobile technologies are generating new business models for urban transport systems, as is evident from recent startups cropping up from the private sector. Public transport systems can make more use of mobile technologies than just for measuring system performance, improving boarding times, or for analyzing travel patterns. A new transaction model is proposed for public transport systems where travelers are allowed to pre-book their fares and trade that demand information to private firms. In this public-private partnership model, fare revenue management is outsourced to third party private firms such as big box retail or large planned events (such as sports stadiums and theme parks), who can issue electronic coupons to travelers to subsidize their fares. This e-coupon pricing model is analyzed using marginal cost theory for the transit service and shown to be quite effective for monopolistic coupon rights, particularly for demand responsive transit systems that feature high cost fares, non-commute travel purposes, and a closed access system with existing pre-booking requirements. However, oligopolistic scenarios analyzed using game theory and network economics suggest that public transport agencies need to take extreme care in planning and implementing such a policy. Otherwise, they risk pushing an equivalent tax on private firms or disrupting the urban economy and real estate values while increasing ridership.

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