Why vary fares by distance travelled?

Why would you choose to vary fares by distance travelled? Why not?

Watch the video or see page 2 of the Discussion Guide to learn more.

39replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • Well, based on the equipment TransLink has from Cubic, I think SkyTrain, SeaBus, and WCE should be distance-based (WCE should still have its own fare structure to differ from SeaBus and SkyTrain) while all buses (local, express, and rapid transit) should remain as flat rate today as reintroducing tap out on buses would slow down exits significantly especially on busy routes such as 99 B Line. SkyTrain and SeaBus fare structure should be calculated based on where tap in and tap out are located. SkyTrain and SeaBus fare pricing should not be rate per stop as some trips, there are different ways to reach the destination station and the system does not know which route you took. Instead it should be measured by displacement (NOT distance; FYI there is a difference between distance and displacement). Fare listing should not be displayed as price per km. To avoid confusion among the majority of riders, instead fare listings should be displayed as a map on CVM's interactive touch screen based on rider's desired destination (map design similar to Taipei Metro ( https://merry.ee.ncku.edu.tw/wp2011/6/travel_info/taiwan/MRT.jpg) ). For online planning purposes, a chart (similar to MTR (Single Journey Fare: http://www.mtr.com.hk/archive/en/tickets/single_journey_fare201611.pdf ; Octopus Fare: http://www.mtr.com.hk/en/customer/tickets/octopus_fares.html) , SMRT ( https://www.smrt.com.sg/Portals/0/PDFs/Bus_Train_Fares_Revision_30Dec16.pdf ), and rapidKL (Single Journey Token: https://www.myrapid.com.my/clients/Myrapid_Prasarana_37CB56E7-2301-4302-9B98-DFC127DD17E9/contentms/doc/20161115_cash_fare_table.pdf ; Stored Value Card: https://www.myrapid.com.my/clients/Myrapid_Prasarana_37CB56E7-2301-4302-9B98-DFC127DD17E9/contentms/doc/20161115_cashless_fare_table.pdf)) or a map should be published. Based on the Compass tickets used today, transfers to buses should be permitted but should be activated and transfer time limit should begin when tapping out and paid the appropriate SkyTrain/SeaBus/WCE fare. Transfer time limit should be increased from the current 90 min to at least 2 hours (120 min) and should be stated in fare policy as 2 hours instead of 120 min for simplicity and to avoid confusion for non-native English-speaking riders.

    Like 2
  • Jeremy Leung Also when calculating distance-based fares, there should be the base price and distance travelled. Price per km added on to a single journey bill should decrease every additional 2 km. E.g. First 2 km should be $1/km. Next 2 km is $0.95. Every next 2 km is 5 cents less than the previous 2 km until the rate reaches $0.00/km which will remain until transfer expires and tapped out on SkyTrain, SeaBus, or WCE. SkyTrain and SeaBus base price should be $1 while WCE base price should be $2.

    For bus fare, since tap out is not required, there is the bus fare and the bus base price. E.g. Bus base price is $0.5.

    Base price is only paid once on a single transfer. When transferring from bus to other modes, a base difference is paid. However when transferring from SkyTrain, SeaBus, or WCE to bus, no base difference is paid nor refunded as the base difference paid on SkyTrain, SeaBus, or WCE is higher than bus. I.e. From bus to SkyTrain or SeaBus, base difference is $0.5. From bus to WCE, base difference is $1.5. From SkyTrain or SeaBus to WCE, base difference is $1. When transferring from WCE to either bus, SkyTrain, or SeaBus, no base difference is paid nor refunded. This also applies to transferring from SkyTrain or SeaBus to bus.

    Like
  • Jeremy Leung 

    I agree that buses should be a flat fare for your stated reason of more time needed, causing delays to tap out leading to less efficiency. The other reason they should be a flat fare is that some bus routes, especially in some suburbs are much more winding than others (such as most in Vancouver). Distance based pricing for buses could lead to some people paying more because the bus to their destination takes a longer route to get to arrive than a different part of the region with a direct bus route, even though the most direct route is the same distance for both people.

     

    For Skytrain, however, I disagree with you. Roughly 40% of all riders use a pass currently on transit, which I would assume are most people that frequently use transit. For these people, I assume that there would be either an equivalent product or fare-capping at the end of this Fare Review that they would use. The distance (or displacement) based pricing would not affect those 40% of people, but the other 60%, most of whom are only occasional riders, infrequent riders, or visitors to the area. For these people, they have little reason to put much effort into trying to understand fare systems that they rarely utilize, so making the fare system too complex would just be more of a deterrent from using transit.

     

    I understand the system you ( Jeremy Leung ) propose, as well as other distance-based systems that I have seen, but dis-connect between Skytrain/Seabus and buses in the fare system brings in more complexity. And for what reason would this added complexity exist? To price more based on usage/distance? The majority of frequent riders would not be affected as they would be using passes or fare-capping (if neither is available, then that raises another massive issue of dramatically increased costs for some people over current passes), so those affected by the different fares would mainly be less frequent/occasional riders and visitors, and even more specifically, those not on buses. If this is the case, distance based pricing doesn't achieve the stated purpose of making costs closer to how much people actually use the system since most of the system is already excluded (buses), and a large percentage of the frequent users are not affected by the distance based pricing. 

    Taking it one step further then,  distance based pricing on Skytrain seems to add complexity for little to no purpose as it wouldn't actually have most people pay based on how much they used the system, or distance they travelled due to the use of passes or fare-capping and buses being excluded.

    Like
  • All modes of transportation Skytrain, buses, Sea Bus and Westcost Express should have FLAT fares that way there is no confusion at all.  Plus people will not have to calculate how much they have to pay or cross the zoning boundaries currently with Translink.

    Like
  • Joel Gibbs The reason why buses should be flat rate while SkyTrain and SeaBus should be distance-based and WCE has its own fare structure is because it is not fair for stored-value Compass cardholders or single journey Compass ticketholders going on short SkyTrain rides (e.g. from Patterson to Metrotown) has to pay as much as riders going on long rides (e.g. from King George to Waterfront or from New Westminster to Metrotown). At the same time, revenue gained may be insufficient with an all flat rate model in the long term for maintenance and operations. Also, users holding a magnetic bus transfer cannot activate validators and fare gates with their transfer. Until the fareboxes are replaced and/or bus validators (could be installed after farebox replacement or before replacement and may not be magnetic transfers but instead QR code paper transfers) are installed at every fare gate, to compensate magnetic transfer holders, a low flat fare rate (or a variable rate based on where the user board a bus and pays bus fare similar to select (not all) bus routes operated by KMB, Citybus, NFWB, etc. in Hong Kong (e.g. KMB Route 270A: http://www.kmb.hk/northdistrictbusnetwork/images/route/Route-270A.jpg) ; still no tap out required) is the preferred choice as according to my proposal. Passes such as U-Pass BC, BC Bus Pass, and all-zone Monthly and other all-zone time-based passes can remain the same but no more 1 or 2-zone passes. As noted earlier in my original post, price per km should not be displayed on fare calculation maps just like today showing the price of zones travelled in. Instead, like Taipei Metro, price is displayed on a map and calculated based on current location to desired destination (e.g. https://merry.ee.ncku.edu.tw/wp2011/6/travel_info/taiwan/MRT.jpg) not price per km nor zones travelled. As mentioned earlier, Compass tickets are currently not available from existing bus fareboxes.

    Like
  • Jeremy Leung 

    it is not fair for stored-value Compass cardholders or single journey Compass ticketholders going on short SkyTrain rides [...] has to pay as much as riders going on long rides

    This is a valid point. Focusing on non-pass fares, as you agreed previously, distance based fares don't make much sense for buses due to performance slow-downs (and other problems I mentioned in my original post).  If bus fares are going to be a flat rate, you will easily have riders on the bus going two or three stops (1km) paying the same as those going 20km. So the fairness issue you raise for Skytrain would still be an issue with the bus system. In the same sense, depending on how the Sytrain pricing would be compared to flat rate for the bus, someone travelling 1km on the bus could pay more than someone going much further on the Skytrain, OR someone travelling 20km on a bus would pay less than someone travelling a much shorter distance on Skytrain. Additionally, if someone travels a short distance, but uses both bus and Skytrain,  they could end up paying more than someone who only needs buses and travels a much longer distance.

    Essentially "fairness" based on distance travelled could be a valid point, but such parity or equality can not be achieved with different fare systems (flat-rate vs distance/displacement in this case) being used for different transit methods. Instead, having different fare systems just changes where the "unfairness" comes from.

     

    At the same time, revenue gained may be insufficient with an all flat rate model in the long term for maintenance and operations. 

    Fares can easily be adjusted (and I believe likely will be) as part of this fare review. Any fare system can achieve the same level of total fare revenue, pricing would simply be adjusted for whatever system is chosen to achieve the necessary revenue from fares.  That, I believe, will be part of Stage 4 of the Fare Review process.

     

    Also, users holding a magnetic bus transfer cannot activate validators and fare gates with their transfer.

    This is true at present, but I can't see how it would be very difficult, technically, to attach a magnetic fare reader to a CVM (Compass Vending Machine) at each Skytrain station, allowing for the magnetic bus fare to be converted into an equivalent compass fare.

     

    Until the fareboxes are replaced and/or bus validators [...] are installed at every fare gate, to compensate magnetic transfer holders, a low flat fare rate (or a variable rate based on where the user board a bus and pays bus fare [...] is the preferred choice as according to my proposal.

    What you are proposing is essentially a third fare system that would apply to people paying cash fares on the bus but transferring to Skytrain for another part of their trip. It sounds like you are saying these people could either have an additional flat-rate fare for Skytrain in addition to the bus fare (which distorts the "fairness" attempting to be instituted with Skytrain fares for people without passes), or as a distance based system that would seem to be at least partially, if not wholly separate from the Skytrain fare system for others. I'm assuming this may apply to stored value users as well? Or would people using stored value just pay the flat rate bus fare and normal distance/station pricing on Skytrain?

    What I am getting at is that this introduces another massive layer of complexity to the fare system as now there is a minimum of 3 fare systems in play for stored value and cash fare users :

    -flat rate for just buses,

    -distance/station pricing for Skytrain

    -Either the bus flat rate plus an additional low flat rate or different distance based pricing system for using bus and Skytrain in the same trip

    Coupling that added complexity and aforementioned disparities in "fairness" between the various modes of transit (bus, Skytrain, Seabus, etc) with the fact that ~40% of all users and 60% of all trips are using passes and wouldn't be providing any of this "fairness" in fares to the system, the ideal of having "fairness" based on distance travelled starts to fall apart, and you are just left with a large amount of added complexity over even the current system.

     

    After everything, this may make it seem like distance based pricing for all methods (bus, Skytrain, Seabus, etc) is a better idea, but let me re-iterate my first post:

    The other reason they should be a flat fare is that some bus routes, especially in some suburbs are much more winding than others (such as most in Vancouver). Distance based pricing for buses could lead to some people paying more because the bus to their destination takes a longer route to get to arrive than a different part of the region with a direct bus route, even though the most direct route is the same distance for both people.

    Additionally, as you mentioned, distance based on buses would require a tap-out, slowing down the the bus, especially on busier and more crowded routes, creating a worse experience and slower journey for everyone.

    Because of all of this, it seems that a flat fare system across Skytrain, Seabus, and buses would be the most efficient and effective. Yes, it doesn't attempt to address the issue of "fairness" with regards to distance travelled, but the other options that do attempt to address this issue both fail to do so, only change the view of "fairness" from being  "unfair" in that there isn't a distance component currently to being "unfair" based on the whether you take (or even have the option to take) bus, Skytrain, Seabus, or a combination. Additionally, the fare system will not achieve "fairness" with regards to paying for the distance travelled as long as passes exist. I don't think "fairness" to the point of eliminating passes (or fare-capping) should be a goal either as if passes (or fare-capping) are no longer offered, many people that currently use transit the most would have to re-evaluate their options as they would likely end up paying significantly more and transit would lose incentive over other modes of transportation.

    Like
  • Joel Gibbs 

    What I am getting at is that this introduces another massive layer of complexity to the fare system as now there is a minimum of 3 fare systems in play for stored value and cash fare users :

    -flat rate for just buses,

    -distance/station pricing for Skytrain

    -Either the bus flat rate plus an additional low flat rate or different distance based pricing system for using bus and Skytrain in the same trip

    To clarify in my reply, if a rider is carrying a valid Compass ticket or card, transferring to buses should be free at no extra charge (No need to pay bus fare with valid Compass ticket or card (transfer time limit still applies; rider with Compass card or ticket can enjoy free transfers to and from buses within time limit)). For magnetic transfer holders, unfortunately, currently only bus-bus transfer permitted but when transferring, no need to pay additional charge or fare on a single valid transfer. When transferring to SkyTrain or SeaBus from bus with a Compass card or ticket, distance based rates apply for SkyTrain and SeaBus trips only. However, when transferring back to bus, if transferring within time limit, no additional charges or fare applies.

    While passes are still offered, limited-zones (not all-zones) passes should be discontinued (i.e. no more 1-zone or 2-zone passes). Only time-based all-zones passes should still be offered (BC Bus Pass, U-Pass, All-zone Monthly passes, CNIB, etc.). Daily and weekly capping for Compass cardholders should be something to look into too.

    My proposal is currently based on present equipment. However if new equipment is obtained and features in new equipment presenting trade-offs (e.g. bus farebox has no cash unit, etc.) and benefits (e.g. capability to reload Compass card directly from bus farebox, capability to obtain new Compass card from the farebox, credit or debit payments via contact (Not contactless) EMV chip, farebox dispenses QR-code recyclable paper transfer, QR-code payments using LINE Pay, WeChat Pay, Alipay, etc.), my bus fare structure proposal may change to using displacement-based (Not distance; measured based on locations of tap-in and tap-out regardless of travel path so if a route is long-winding and bus travelled for 2 km yet tap-in and out locations are 0.5 km apart, 0.5 km fare is charged). Displacement is actually my preferred proposal over distance as travel paths can vary and direct distance between tap-in and tap-outs can be different from travelling distance (e.g. Going from Metrotown to Brentwood by SkyTrain; direct line distance is about 4.5 km apart; transfer point can be either at Commercial-Broadway, Lougheed Town Centre, or Production Way-University; so 4.5 km approx. fare is charged).

     

    Hopefully this clarifies what my proposal actually is.

    Like
  • Jeremy Leung 

    Thanks for clarifying and correcting what I misunderstood.

    if a rider is carrying a valid Compass ticket or card, transferring to buses should be free at no extra charge [...]  When transferring to SkyTrain or SeaBus from bus with a Compass card or ticket, distance based rates apply for SkyTrain and SeaBus trips only. However, when transferring back to bus, if transferring within time limit, no additional charges or fare applies.

    To make sure I understand properly, are you saying that for someone with a Compass card, that began a trip on Skytrain then transferred to the bus would only be charged the initial Skytrain fare, but would not be charged separately for the bus fare? If this understanding is correct, I assume the cheapest Skytrain fare would be equivalent to or greater than a bus fare, and would go up from there? Otherwise there would be the issue of a short Skytrain then bus transfer being cheaper than someone who doesn't have the first Skytrain portion, bus uses the same bus portion.

    Just for examples to make sure I understand (shall we assume $3 bus fare and Skytrain being $3 for the travelling 1 stop from the starting station and $.10 extra for each station thereafter?), if someone travels on stored value or magnetic fare (getting temporary compass card at the Skytrain):

    bus>Skytrain for 2 stops>bus

    They would be charged the first bus fare ($3) plus Skytrain ($3.10), and not for the final bus, assuming they were within the time limit, for a total of $6.10?

    Or Skytrain for 2 stops>bus

    They would be charged $3.10 for Skytrain and nothing for the bus after?

    Or bus>Skytrain for 2 stops

    They would be charged $3 for the bus and $3.10 for Skytrain, for a total of $6.10?

    Or just Skytrain for 2 stops

    They would be charged $3.10 for Skytrain?

    For magnetic transfer holders, unfortunately, currently only bus-bus transfer permitted but when transferring, no need to pay additional charge or fare on a single valid transfer

    I am pinging the moderators below to see if they can provide information or clarification on the future of magnetic fares that could have an impact on this discussion.

    While passes are still offered, limited-zones (not all-zones) passes should be discontinued (i.e. no more 1-zone or 2-zone passes). Only time-based all-zones passes should still be offered (BC Bus Pass, U-Pass, All-zone Monthly passes, CNIB, etc.). Daily and weekly capping for Compass cardholders should be something to look into too.

    I am in agreement with you here. The unlimited passes should stay, unless a fare-capping system is adopted to replace them (which I believe it should be).

    my bus fare structure proposal may change to using displacement-based (Not distance; measured based on locations of tap-in and tap-out regardless of travel path so if a route is long-winding and bus travelled for 2 km yet tap-in and out locations are 0.5 km apart, 0.5 km fare is charged). Displacement is actually my preferred proposal over distance as travel paths can vary and direct distance between tap-in and tap-outs can be different from travelling distance (e.g. Going from Metrotown to Brentwood by SkyTrain; direct line distance is about 4.5 km apart; transfer point can be either at Commercial-Broadway, Lougheed Town Centre, or Production Way-University; so 4.5 km approx. fare is charged).

    If magnetic fares were phased out (likely in favour of an all Compass system), I would be more likely to support this type of system, assuming fare-capping or unlimited passes were available as well. My main reservation, however,  would still be what you initially brought up with regards to a system similar to this on buses: the extra time, slow-downs, and loss of efficiency required to tap out, especially on busy bus routes. That and the fact that it would be virtually impossible to predict your fare ahead of time, creating possible issues for those without a permanent Compass card, needing to pay on the bus for only a single trip (think visitors to the area mainly).

    Jessica Matt Stewart Malcolm MacLean

    To further this discussion, are any of you able to provide information on Translink's plans regarding magnetic fares? Are there plans to switch buses over to dispersing the temporary Compass cards at some point and get rid of magnetic fares completely? Is Translink looking at adding a magnetic fare validator to fare gates, or a magnetic reader to CVM's to allow for the conversion of magnetic fares to a temporary Compass card? Or is everything going to stay essentially as it is now, with people buying for a fare on the bus having no other option but to buy a second fare when transferring to Skytrain/Seabus?

    Like
  • Joel Gibbs No problem!

    To make sure I understand properly, are you saying that for someone with a Compass card, that began a trip on Skytrain then transferred to the bus would only be charged the initial Skytrain fare, but would not be charged separately for the bus fare? If this understanding is correct, I assume the cheapest Skytrain fare would be equivalent to or greater than a bus fare, and would go up from there? Otherwise there would be the issue of a short Skytrain then bus transfer being cheaper than someone who doesn't have the first Skytrain portion, bus uses the same bus portion.

    That is correct. I am thinking that the SkyTrain and SeaBus fare should already cover the bus fare. Since my fare proposal involves measuring displacement (Not distance), I did mention it earlier that introducing tap out is an issue. This may be because of the MIFARE contactless IC technology (MIFARE is compliant with ISO/IEC 14443, the same standard EMV credit and debit cards comply) along with the cellular data transmission speed and reliability and the validator processing speed. If the validator sensor's were upgraded to a contactless technology that can read and write data on transponder (card, tag, device, etc.) within 0.1 s (not 1/3 s) such as Sony FeliCa, reintroducing tap-out could be considered. Until then since current Compass validators uses MIFARE with 3G cellular connection and are from Cubic, that is why I was concerned with tap-out. However, even after upgrading the IC technology, my proposal for bus fares may still remain flat rate or variable rate based on boarding and fare payment location (KMB Route 270A example mentioned earlier) if equipment still does not read and write data fast enough to not slow down exits and entries.

    bus>Skytrain for 2 stops>bus

    They would be charged the first bus fare ($3) plus Skytrain ($3.10), and not for the final bus, assuming they were within the time limit, for a total of $6.10?

    Or Skytrain for 2 stops>bus

    They would be charged $3.10 for Skytrain and nothing for the bus after?

    Or bus>Skytrain for 2 stops

    They would be charged $3 for the bus and $3.10 for Skytrain, for a total of $6.10?

    Or just Skytrain for 2 stops

    They would be charged $3.10 for Skytrain?

    In the examples you mentioned, the bus fare is also the base fare for SkyTrain plus one stop. I.e. The $3 fare for bus is also for SkyTrain. Currently only applicable when using stored value. As mentioned earlier, magnetics cannot activate Compass validators and fare gates.

    If magnetic fares were phased out (likely in favour of an all Compass system), I would be more likely to support this type of system, assuming fare-capping or unlimited passes were available as well.

    I actually would not only favour phasing out magnetics but also the current Compass tickets. Magnetics and Compass tickets should be replaced with QR-code paper transfers (for safe disposal (no dedicated collection points for tickets; just any recycling and paper bin), recyclable, environmentally friendly, and safe from data tampering of Compass tickets (I still find some used and abandoned Compass tickets using the original MIFARE Ultralight (MF0ICU1; About the IC chip: http://www.nxp.com/products/identification-and-security/mifare-ics/mifare-ultralight/mifare-ultralight-contactless-single-ticket-ic:MF0ICU1 ) . There are apps to tamper the data. However, necessary skills are needed for successful data tamperings. E.g. NFCulT: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.bughardy.nfcult )) for bus and WCE and plastic IC tokens for SkyTrain and SeaBus (reusable so it can be restocked in CVMs for other single journey riders; fare gates must also have a return slot for the token; to transfer from SkyTrain or SeaBus to other modes requires the token user to obtain a paper transfer prior to inserting token at exit (similar to rapidKL in Kuala Lumpur ( https://youtu.be/Gs7PpOOE1U4 ) and Taipei MRT ( https://youtu.be/O0E9sU-VqBM?t=8m40s ))). QR-code transfers is to also allow users to able to AddFare with their mobile phone using PayPal, credit and debit (either via app or NFC (if device does include NFC support)), Alipay, WeChat Pay, LINE Pay, etc. simply by taking a picture of the code. Not all smartphones have NFC or even MIFARE. In addition, the paper transfers are to allow quicker boarding (and exiting, if implemented) by flashing the code in front of the reader (if already validated or first obtained at farebox; non-validated paper tickets and passes should come in the form of a PDF417 code, similar to an airplane ticket matrix barcode, which should require user to insert into farebox to get QR code and expiry date and time stamped and the PDF417 code blacked out for validation) over swiping magnetics.

    Like
  • Jeremy Leung I forgot to mention that the new farebox should also dispense full-featured Compass cards like rapidKL new farebox for their RapidCard ( https://youtu.be/HGutnlFicbk ) in addition to paper transfers

    Like
  • Jeremy Leung 

    I am thinking that the SkyTrain and SeaBus fare should already cover the bus fare. [...]  In the examples you mentioned, the bus fare is also the base fare for SkyTrain plus one stop. I.e. The $3 fare for bus is also for SkyTrain. Currently only applicable when using stored value. As mentioned earlier, magnetics cannot activate Compass validators and fare gates.

    Let's focus on stored value, as the issue with magnetic fares should be fixed via other methods, as I mentioned previously, and hopefully we hear back from the moderators on this. 

    This fare system you propose raises the question of people that just use Skytrain for even a single stop or two paying more than someone going 20km on the bus, essentially penalizing those that live close to Skytrain and mainly use Skytrain/Seabus for short trips. Additionally this disincentivizes the more efficient Skytrain, the opposite of what should be the pursuit of greater efficiency. 

    I do understand the desire for charging based on "displacement", but it seems that, instead of making it so people actually pay more proportionally relative to usage, people mainly using Skytrain are instead being penalized relative to those mainly using bus. This causes a disparity in "fairness" or proportionality showing up in a different area (between mainly Skytrain vs bus users) and just creates a more complex fare system instead of actually solving the problem stated as being the main reason for moving to this or a similar type of system. 

    I guess this is the crux of my reasoning that there should be a flat-fare system across bus/Skytrain/Seabus:

    - The system in place doesn't sufficiently provide for efficient tapping out on buses

    - Having separate systems on bus and Skytrain/Seabus and buses don't make the fares more proportional, but move where the disparity is occurring

    - It makes Skytrain more expensive than bus, nudging people to alternatives that are less efficient.

     

    However, even after upgrading the IC technology, my proposal for bus fares may still remain flat rate or variable rate based on boarding and fare payment location (KMB Route 270A example mentioned earlier) if equipment still does not read and write data fast enough to not slow down exits and entries.

    Fair enough. I shall move on past this since Compass is highly unlikely to be replaced/significantly altered anytime soon due to the high costs of the initial system, and altering the payment system seems to be beyond the scope of this fare review.

    You do make some interesting/good points with regards to payment technology, but I shall withhold comment as it is outside the scope of this process, and I did not live in Metro Vancouver (and therefore have input) when Compass was chosen as the payment method.

     

    Like
  • Agree with the thrust of this thread, which reflect what have been said here


    the take out, is that fares should be

    *distance based on the rail network.
    *route based price on the bus system (with time variation on/off peak, but not distance based variation)

    ...and please; No tap-off on the bus: it is an unnecssary hassle for bus riders, and slow down the unloading.

    Like 1
  • Voony 

    Just curious why you think Skytrain should be distance based fares with a different system for buses? How would stored value fares work for someone that needs to transfer between the two?

    Also, are you saying that each bus route should have a different price based on the cost of providing service for that specific route?

    Lastly, what are you thinking the rough pricing should be for the various fares (ex. Skytrain vs various bus routes)?

    Like
  • Voony Actually, displacement (Not distance; unless you already are proposing displacement but still use the term "distance") is what I would like to see instead as some destinations, there are more than one possible travel routes. E.g. from Lougheed Town Centre to Commericial-Broadway, there are two possible travel routes. Riders can either travel on the Millennium Line or the Expo Line to reach Commericial-Broadway. Prices should be displayed on a map like this (Taipei Metro: https://merry.ee.ncku.edu.tw/wp2011/6/travel_info/taiwan/MRT.jpg ) but on the interactive touch display so users can touch their desired destination and if prices change, it is quicker to upload the updated map over having to print new maps and then change every CVMs map holders. I.e. price should be already calculated and displayed for each destination rather than only showing the price per km and making users having to calculate their fare. If displacement-based fare structure is to also be introduced on buses, the validators and the fare box would have to be replaced (new validators would need to read and write data and start accepting the next scan faster than current Compass validators in order to not slow down exits (reader+writer units could be Sony FeliCa (with 0.1 s data read+write speed) used in Octopus, Suica, and PASMO instead of MIFARE by NXP; validator cellular data transmission should be 4G or newer; validator software needs to be improved so once card scanned is out of range, validator should instantly start reading the next tap); new fare boxes can be something like the ones used by rapidKL with their RapidCard: https://youtu.be/HGutnlFicbk ). On conventional buses (including trolley buses; excluding highway coaches and community shuttles), cash payments for direct bus fare payment would not be supported except for reloading Compass card. Electronic payments (Compass, credit and debit cards, LINE Pay, Alipay, WeChat Pay, Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, Microsoft Wallet, Huawei Pay, Xiaomi MI Pay, etc.) would only be accepted for direct bus payments.

    Like
  • Joel Gibbs , I have already mentioned the reasons in this blog post. To summarize:

    the pricing mechanism should reflect the cost to provide a service and still be easy to understand and fair to the customer:

    • distance based pricing reflect the cost of service provided by a rail system,  it doesn't for a bus system (time is a better metric)
    • The picture above is the route 405: many detour, it is unfair to have the customer to pay for those detours.
    • As a customer, you want to know how much you gonna pay upfront (not finding it afterward).

     Jeremy Leung provided  a picture from Tapei to illustrate how the customer can be aware of the pricing.  Below is a similar one from Tokyo for the purpose to illustrate the point made by Jeremy: pricing is based on the shortest route disregarding the actual route you use. (Agree with that)

    Having a similar map for the bus system could be too much of a burden.

    how the things could work with keeping bus and skytrain pricing integrated?

    to fix the ideas, below is a 'simplistic' example of what distance pricing could be:

    • $1.6 (access fee)+$.15 per station on the rail system
    • base bus fare: $2.10
    • if a rider transfer to a  bus:  a minimal  $2.10 (bus fare) is charged for the whole trip (so if a rider has just travelled 1 station on the skytrain, and so spent only $1.7,  it is charged $.35 more to board the bus.  If he has already traveled 5 stations on the skytrain, and so already spent $2.35: there is no additional charge to transfer on the bus)
    • On the reverse (bus->skytrain),  total price starts to increment once the skytrain charge go above $2.10.

    the above pricing is designed to keep in line with what is currently existing (free transfer and a skytrain trip from Vancouver Downtwn to Surrey Central equivalent to a 3 zones fare), but the border effect introduced by the current zone system  has disappeared.

     

    Yes, I think the base bus fare can vary by route to reflect the cost to operate those bus route but also to drive the demand: ...bus 84 could be cheaper than bus 99 (to encourage people to use the former)... also price could vary per direction: contra peak flow bus (typically 99 eastward in the morning peak) should get discounted (lot of empty seat).

     

    Like
  • Voony 

    Thanks for your reply.

    I did read through your blog posting and comments and I understand the concept of what you propose in your blog. However, I am somewhat confused by how your proposed system would work in reality and how it fits with your statement:

    the pricing mechanism should reflect the cost to provide a service and still be easy to understand and fair to the customer

    For example, the cost per boarded passenger to provide service for routes that are much less used is much higher than something like the b-lines or busiest routes. Would people that have to use the less common routes be paying the $5-$10 in some cases vs $.62 for the 99 (numbers pulled from Translink's 2015 Transit System Performance Review)? How would something like this, where each bus route would be priced differently, be "easy to understand", especially if fares shifts based on time and direction as well?

    Or am I misunderstanding you, and pricing by route is theoretical, and you actually believe, in the case of this fare review at least, that flat fares for buses with distance based fares for Skytrain would be your preference, as you mention in your example fares?

    It seems you definitely favour of a system, where costs paid by users resemble the actual costs incurred by Translink to provide that service. What do you believe should happen with with passes/fare-capping then? As ~40% of all users, making ~60% of all trips use an unlimited pass currently (whether daily or monthly), would you propose scrapping passes and not instituting fare-capping so that everyone that uses are pass would pay closer to the real cost for their transit use? Or would you keep passes/fare-capping, which would distort the "pay for what you use" system even more?

    Like
  • Joel Gibbs 

    Thanks for the notice of this question. I just want to let you know I'm coordinating with the technical experts to give you the best answer possible right now regarding the future of the magnetic fare boxes. I will follow up as soon as I'm able.

    Like
  • Malcolm MacLean 

    Thanks, that is appreciated.

     

    Jeremy Leung  Voony and anyone else that is interested:

    What would your thoughts be on a system that  was somewhat of a hybrid?

    I was reviewing a number of Translink's Phase One documents and based on some of the data in those, thought of a system that is nominally a flat-rate, but for peak periods (6-9a and 3-6p) would institute a distance/displacement type of structure for Skytrain instead of doing a outright price increase for peak/off-peak fare. This may possibly include the first 2 or 3 stops free, so as not to necessarily penalize people (relative to bus) who need to make short trips during this time.

    For example, say a $2.50 base fare for Skytrain/bus/Seabus and during peak hours, after the first 3 Skytrain stops, each additional stop from the origin station is $.15.

    My reasoning for this idea is that the studies found that people with less ability to pay (ie lower income), were likely to make shorter trips (hence a few free stops before peak pricing kicks in), and the distribution of trips were more even throughout the day, whereas people with more ability to pay (ie higher income) were significantly more likely to travel during peak periods than off-peak, and usually travelled further distances. This attempts to use the distance/displacement pricing as the peak "surcharge" (or off-peak discount) to balance ridership while minimizing the punitive effects of peak/off peak/off-peak pricing and minimize the discrepancy that would occur between bus and Skytrain due to differential pricing on the two. Also, it attempts to incorporat the features of a more "pay for what you use" type of system (aka distance/displacement) as are supported by a decent number of people. Differentiation between peak and off-peak was supported by 62% of people according to the studies.

     

    Granted, this would only have an effect for ~35% of people (as of May 2016, 29% stored value, 6% cash) as all others were some form of unlimited pass(monthly, daily, U-Pass, BC Bus Pass, etc), unless there was a differentiation between a peak and off-peak pass.

     

    Any thoughts? Anything I missed or should consider differently?

    Like
  • Joel Gibbs Voony While passes should still remain, the passes should be primarily for high frequent transit users such as university students, employees, employers, PWD (Persons With Disabilities; I.e. BC Bus Pass), etc. Mid-frequent transit users (e.g. users using transit once a week, a tourist in Vancouver, etc.) would use either a day pass, a customized pass (tourist pass, seasonal pass, charity organization pass, etc.), or stored value. Occasional riders would use either stored value or single journey ticket(s). The main focus for the hybrid fare structure are stored value and cash payments. Currently, cash payments is a problem for bus passengers transferring to SkyTrain or SeaBus like they used to do prior to closing of fare gates. This is a reason why all bus routes (regardless if it is local, express, or B-Line) should be remain flat rate like today with 1-zone on all buses until something is done with either the fareboxes, the faregates and CVMs, or both to let bus riders transfer to SkyTrain with their bus transfer. Having the SkyTrain, SeaBus, and bus all on flat rate without dealing with the bus transfer issue would still lead to unfairness as it would penalize riders using bus transfers transferring to SkyTrain as they already paid for their transfer.

    Introducing differentiation between peak and off-peak fare structures can be more difficult to predict as time is dynamic variable and can be difficult for users trying to tap in at the right time especially when their bus is late or have to wait for the next bus because the bus they have been waiting for had left early. A static displacement fare structure would be easier to measure and calculate (although users do not need to worry about calculating their fares; fares should be displayed on a map like what I and Voony have shown; on a CVM, when buying a single journey ticket, user just need to select their destination on the touch screen (displayed as map of the SkyTrain network) rather than choosing a value or fare product like today).

    Like
  • Jeremy Leung 

     Currently, cash payments is a problem for bus passengers transferring to SkyTrain or SeaBus like they used to do prior to closing of fare gates. This is a reason why all bus routes (regardless if it is local, express, or B-Line) should be remain flat rate like today with 1-zone on all buses until something is done with either the fareboxes, the faregates and CVMs, or both to let bus riders transfer to SkyTrain with their bus transfer. Having the SkyTrain, SeaBus, and bus all on flat rate without dealing with the bus transfer issue would still lead to unfairness as it would penalize riders using bus transfers transferring to SkyTrain as they already paid for their transfer.

    I agree that bus cash fares and transferring to Skytrain/Seabus is an issue, hence trying to figure out what Translink plans are regarding those, to see if it can be worked around. I don't see how this issue is relatively beneficial or detrimental to one fare system over another, as all fare systems would largely penalize people using cash fares on buses that want to transfer to Skytrain/Seabus. Because seems to be an issue across all systems (at least until we receive more information from Translink on plans for magnetic fares), I made no mention of it in my previous post.

    Introducing differentiation between peak and off-peak fare structures can be more difficult to predict as time is dynamic variable and can be difficult for users trying to tap in at the right time especially when their bus is late or have to wait for the next bus because the bus they have been waiting for had left early.

    That is part of the reason I specifically did not include buses in the peak/off-peak pricing differential and the only difference during peak vs off-peak is that peak would have added displacement costs on Skytrain during peak hours (likely after 2 or 3 "free" stops). With the current off-peak (evening and weekend) fares, all trips started before 6:30 are normal zone pricing, but for any trip started after 6:30, it is 1-zone. I would imagine a similar thing, except instead of basing it on a whole trip, it would be based on when you would tap into the Skytrain (if it was after 9a, before 3p, after 6p, etc). This negates the timing issue with buses, since Skytrain's are very consistent and are running every few minutes, negating the issue of having to wait a long time for it to arrive and/or it being late/early and not being able to tap-in during off-peak times.  I do think the exact peak/off-peak structure may have to be tweaked whether it be small pricing adjustments or something else, in order to achieve the most efficient service via balanced ridership while not making the fare difference between peak and off-peak inordinately punitive. 

    A static displacement fare structure would be easier to measure and calculate (although users do not need to worry about calculating their fares; fares should be displayed on a map like what I and Voony have shown; on a CVM, when buying a single journey ticket, user just need to select their destination on the touch screen (displayed as map of the SkyTrain network) rather than choosing a value or fare product like today).

    As far as displacement being easier to "measure and calculate", I'm not sure what you ware using as reference for the comparison. If you are referring to flat-rate fares , I would strongly disagree. If you are comparing it to the peak displacement fares on Skytrain, it would be a very similar, if not identical system, during that time, while having the simplicity of flat-fare during off-peak and all times on buses, providing for more efficient ridership levels due to peak/off-peak differential. If you are comparing it to having 2 or 3 stops "free", I don't see how it would be much different. For the map for instance, you would see the first 2-3 stops as the base fare, with incremental pricing for each stop thereafter. The "free stops" could be removed to make stop pricing consistent for all Skytrain stops, but I thought it may be beneficial in achieving the goal of making easier on those who have less ability to pay (supported by a decent majority of people according to Translink's data) as those people are more likely to have shorter trips (under 10km).

    Like
  • Joel Gibbs 

    As far as displacement being easier to "measure and calculate", I'm not sure what you ware using as reference for the comparison. If you are referring to flat-rate fares , I would strongly disagree. If you are comparing it to the peak displacement fares on Skytrain, it would be a very similar, if not identical system, during that time, while having the simplicity of flat-fare during off-peak and all times on buses, providing for more efficient ridership levels due to peak/off-peak differential. If you are comparing it to having 2 or 3 stops "free", I don't see how it would be much different. For the map for instance, you would see the first 2-3 stops as the base fare, with incremental pricing for each stop thereafter. The "free stops" could be removed to make stop pricing consistent for all Skytrain stops, but I thought it may be beneficial in achieving the goal of making easier on those who have less ability to pay (supported by a decent majority of people according to Translink's data) as those people are more likely to have shorter trips (under 10km).

    To clarify, I am talking about having just only the displacement fare SkyTrain structure at all times regardless if it is peak or off-peak. The reason is that I think instead we should look at lowering the base price and price per km rather than creating short-term temporary discounts. Also another reason why SkyTrain off-peak fare structure should not be changed to flat rate is cash payments on bus which is what I mentioned earlier.

    Like
  • Jeremy Leung 

    To clarify, I am talking about having just only the displacement fare SkyTrain structure at all times regardless if it is peak or off-peak. The reason is that I think instead we should look at lowering the base price and price per km rather than creating short-term temporary discounts.

    Gotcha. For me, the peak/off-peak pricing, simply comes down to what is the most efficient and promotes the best utilization of transit resources. Because higher off-peak pricing has a balancing effect for ridership throughout the day, it levels out the peak demand that Translink currently has to service, enabling them to provide better all-around service or cheaper fares, etc. I do believe this differential should be kept as low as possible while still achieving the goal of encouraging ridership to be spread more evenly throughout the day, making the whole system more efficient and productive.

    Also another reason why SkyTrain off-peak fare structure should not be changed to flat rate is cash payments on bus which is what I mentioned earlier.

    I don't understand how displacement distance vs flat-rate fares has any effect on people paying cash fares on buses and having to pay for another fare when they transfer. In the current system, they would have to pay again for Skytrain in either situation. Please explain 

    Like
  • Joel Gibbs 

    I don't understand how displacement distance vs flat-rate fares has any effect on people paying cash fares on buses and having to pay for another fare when they transfer. In the current system, they would have to pay again for Skytrain in either situation. Please explain 

    Sorry for giving insufficient clarity. The reason is because it is technology and equipment related as the magnetics cannot open the fare gates nor work with the CVMs. Also, it is compensate users that do not want to pay for a new single journey ticket when their existing valid transfer is still in effect and want to get the best value for their transfer.

    In this scenario, base fare for bus is $0.05 while SkyTrain is $0.10. SkyTrain price per km is $0.50 and bus main fare is $1. If bus transfer is valid on SkyTrain, user should simply able to pay the base fare upgrade difference between bus and SkyTrain (i.e. simply pay an additional $0.05 rather than paying $0.10 for a new single journey ticket) in addition to the SkyTrain price per km (the $1 paid on bus also covers 2 km ($1) displacement on SkyTrain; users travelling longer distances can just simply pay the appropriate outstanding SkyTrain fare upgrade for the additional km covered). If user carries a valid SkyTrain ticket, no additional charge (as stated earlier) is levied on the user when transferring to buses even if SkyTrain displacement is less than 2 km.

    Like
  • Jeremy Leung 

    You are talking about people paying cash on the bus with the current fare boxes and CVM's? From your example, it seems you would need at a minimum an additional magnetic reader at the CVM's to be able to implement such a thing. 

    I totally agree that there needs to be a solution for people paying cash fares on the bus that transfer, but, assuming nothing changes with the current equipment, I'm failing to understand how your system would work. Would you just have an option on the CVM for "already have bus cash fare" to choose for the lower price?

    To clarify for myself, with the current fare equipment (CVM, fare boxes) I don't see how any system can avoid punishing people paying cash fares on buses.

    Like
  • Joel Gibbs 

    You are talking about people paying cash on the bus with the current fare boxes and CVM's? From your example, it seems you would need at a minimum an additional magnetic reader at the CVM's to be able to implement such a thing. 

    I totally agree that there needs to be a solution for people paying cash fares on the bus that transfer, but, assuming nothing changes with the current equipment, I'm failing to understand how your system would work. Would you just have an option on the CVM for "already have bus cash fare" to choose for the lower price?

    To clarify for myself, with the current fare equipment (CVM, fare boxes) I don't see how any system can avoid punishing people paying cash fares on buses.

    To clarify further, existing equipment are not compatible with each other and the example I mentioned is theoretical. Bus transfers permitted on SkyTrain may not ever happen. In addition flat rate can fail to give SkyTrain riders the best value for short journeys (e.g. from Patterson to Metrotown, from Patterson to Joyce-Collingwood) including transfers from bus to SkyTrain regardless if it is during peak or off-peak hours.

    Like
Replies are closed
Like
  • 4 mths agoLast active
  • 39Replies closed
  • 527Views
  • 7 Following