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Old January 18th, 2012, 02:21 AM   #3421
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanfan89

Chunyun will involve three billion trips. Of these, less than 50 million trips will be by air. The airline industry can do nothing about railway congestion. We have to remember the sheer size and price-consciousness of ordinary people.
Yes, but if air was more attractive, wouldn't it drive down the price of tickets?
I'm not necessarily talking about capacity if the airlines, but rather the direct competition they'd have with the railways if they were privatized. Wouldn't that be a plus?

Also, I'm guessing there is a reason why they don't use double decker trains? I understand why that is obviously so for HSR, but what about the regular trains?
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Old January 18th, 2012, 04:44 AM   #3422
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoenixboi08 View Post
Yes, but if air was more attractive, wouldn't it drive down the price of tickets?
I'm not necessarily talking about capacity if the airlines, but rather the direct competition they'd have with the railways if they were privatized. Wouldn't that be a plus?

Also, I'm guessing there is a reason why they don't use double decker trains? I understand why that is obviously so for HSR, but what about the regular trains?
China's airline industry is still state-dominated and regulated, so they're not as free as US or European counterparts to wage price wars. In any case the military controls a greater proportion of airspace than in most other major countries, causing serious congestion on available civilian corridors. So until Chinese airlines are deregulated and free to wage price wars, and the military is strong-armed to give up their turf, there will be no Southwests or RyanAirs. And there are many double decker trains in China:

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Old January 18th, 2012, 12:34 PM   #3423
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoenixboi08 View Post
Also, I'm guessing there is a reason why they don't use double decker trains? I understand why that is obviously so for HSR, but what about the regular trains?
China railway uses double decker trains extensively, I'll post some more complete information in the double decker train thread, stay tuned.
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Old January 18th, 2012, 05:52 PM   #3424
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hmmwv

China railway uses double decker trains extensively, I'll post some more complete information in the double decker train thread, stay tuned.
Okay, I didn't know for sure...I just never saw any. And I asked my friend, and he didn't even know they existed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanfan89

China's airline industry is still state-dominated and regulated, so they're not as free as US or European counterparts to wage price wars. In any case the military controls a greater proportion of airspace than in most other major countries, causing serious congestion on available civilian corridors. So until Chinese airlines are deregulated and free to wage price wars, and the military is strong-armed to give up their turf, there will be no Southwests or RyanAirs. And there are many double decker trains in China:
Yeah, that makes sense.
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Old January 18th, 2012, 09:10 PM   #3425
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Geography, if you're not libertarian and you are FOR subsidized intracity public transit, why are you so against train tickets being sold at a discounted rate? It doesn't make you a libertarian or a socialist, it just makes your editorial inconsistent. As others have noted, the MOR is a public utility with a mandate to provide service. The railroad system is a natural monopoly and provides a necessary service. Thus it should not be allowed to maximize profit like some Lady GaGa concert or lemonade stand.
Good points. The difference between subsidized bus or metro tickets and subsidized railway tickets is that with the former, ticket prices are subsidized to encourage ridership. With the latter, subsidized ticket prices during Lunar New Year come amidst moon-high demand. This attracts a huge crush of people who cannot all get tickets, leading to the frustration and stress seen in so many railway stations across the country.

We agree that the supply of passenger rail transport in China during Lunar New Year is very inelastic because of the high capital requirements in adding capacity that would be wasted the rest of the year. It's also true that the railroads have a natural monopoly, but only on railroads which is merely one mode of transport. Why can't people take buses? There are innumerable bus lines in China that, if the price rose from additional demand, could add capacity easier than the railway system.

Many posters are forgetting the usefulness in pricing in a market economy. Higher prices are signals to businesses where to add capacity. Higher prices encourage frugality on the demand side and additional investment on the supply side. The absence of those pricing signals can cause major problems. Higher railway ticket prices might not result in high railway capacity during Lunar New Year, but it would attract more private investment in buses and cheap airlines.
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Old January 18th, 2012, 09:19 PM   #3426
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Originally Posted by Geography View Post
The absence of those pricing signals can cause major problems. Higher railway ticket prices might not result in high railway capacity during Lunar New Year, but it would attract more private investment in buses and cheap airlines.
Thank you for answering my question ^_^
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Old January 19th, 2012, 12:37 AM   #3427
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Quote:
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Good points. The difference between subsidized bus or metro tickets and subsidized railway tickets is that with the former, ticket prices are subsidized to encourage ridership. With the latter, subsidized ticket prices during Lunar New Year come amidst moon-high demand. This attracts a huge crush of people who cannot all get tickets, leading to the frustration and stress seen in so many railway stations across the country.

We agree that the supply of passenger rail transport in China during Lunar New Year is very inelastic because of the high capital requirements in adding capacity that would be wasted the rest of the year. It's also true that the railroads have a natural monopoly, but only on railroads which is merely one mode of transport. Why can't people take buses? There are innumerable bus lines in China that, if the price rose from additional demand, could add capacity easier than the railway system.

Many posters are forgetting the usefulness in pricing in a market economy. Higher prices are signals to businesses where to add capacity. Higher prices encourage frugality on the demand side and additional investment on the supply side. The absence of those pricing signals can cause major problems. Higher railway ticket prices might not result in high railway capacity during Lunar New Year, but it would attract more private investment in buses and cheap airlines.
What do you think the MOR has been doing in the past few years? Even as an ardent critic of the MOR I have to jump to their defence this time.

I do think though that during the peak-demand period more standing tickets should be sold on the high-speed lines. There probably are some safety concerns but crush-loaded high-speed trains are not unheard of. In the old days the railway was completely classless.
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Old January 19th, 2012, 06:36 AM   #3428
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geography View Post
We agree that the supply of passenger rail transport in China during Lunar New Year is very inelastic because of the high capital requirements in adding capacity that would be wasted the rest of the year. It's also true that the railroads have a natural monopoly, but only on railroads which is merely one mode of transport. Why can't people take buses? There are innumerable bus lines in China that, if the price rose from additional demand, could add capacity easier than the railway system.

Many posters are forgetting the usefulness in pricing in a market economy. Higher prices are signals to businesses where to add capacity. Higher prices encourage frugality on the demand side and additional investment on the supply side. The absence of those pricing signals can cause major problems. Higher railway ticket prices might not result in high railway capacity during Lunar New Year, but it would attract more private investment in buses and cheap airlines.
Long distance bus services are pushed to the limit during Chinese New Year as well, several provinces even cancelled expressway tolls to get traffic move quickly through toll gates. Airline tickets are selling out quickly too and price are skyrocketing, yet airlines cannot simply buy more planes in anticipation of the travel rush because once the peak has passed they will end up with lots of expensive idling asset. Competition in the Chinese airline industry is fierce during regular seasons because supply still outpace demand, that's why we don't see many LCCs there since they can't compete with large airlines which routinely sell tickets at 50-70% off prices.
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Old January 19th, 2012, 03:53 PM   #3429
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I've been searching and searching for data on "migration/" travel patterns during Chunyun, but have come across nothing.

I'm wondering if there's a large bottle neck; a vast amount of people located in one general area (east coast for example) travelling towards another general area (central region). I'm not assuming it's this way, just wondering.

This is fun to think about, just goes to show what it could be like being responsible for such a thing...
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Old January 19th, 2012, 05:34 PM   #3430
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I don't think you are far off. A lot of manual workers in east coast cities do come from the inner areas to the west.
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Old January 19th, 2012, 06:01 PM   #3431
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCT
I don't think you are far off. A lot of manual workers in east coast cities do come from the inner areas to the west.
Right, but what I don't know is if it's really these people moving from the large cities to the interior that is really at the root of the problem....but if it is, it's short term, right? Because the population is going to spread more evenly in the future....
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Old January 19th, 2012, 07:26 PM   #3432
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Chunyun is an annual thing, kinda like the Thanksgiving travel season in the US, except 50 times larger. This year they anticipate 3.18 billion journeys will be made during the period.
More info can be found here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chunyun


Quote:
Originally Posted by phoenixboi08 View Post
Okay, I didn't know for sure...I just never saw any. And I asked my friend, and he didn't even know they existed.
The info has been added to the double decker thread.
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Old January 19th, 2012, 08:49 PM   #3433
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Real name tickets affect passengers throughout the year, not just Lunar New Year. The debate over ticket prices in general morphed into a debate over ticket prices during Lunar New Year when unique circumstances are in effect: overwhelming demand, especially from poor migrant workers who cannot travel any other time.

But what about the rest of the year, when social stability from millions of migrants going home is not at stake? Should the railways raise ticket prices to maximize revenue?
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Old January 19th, 2012, 09:36 PM   #3434
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geography
Real name tickets affect passengers throughout the year, not just Lunar New Year. The debate over ticket prices in general morphed into a debate over ticket prices during Lunar New Year when unique circumstances are in effect: overwhelming demand, especially from poor migrant workers who cannot travel any other time.

But what about the rest of the year, when social stability from millions of migrants going home is not at stake? Should the railways raise ticket prices to maximize revenue?
Well, the prices for HSR are already pretty high (compared to the regular trains) because of the whole thing about freight offsetting the costs of the latter, while the MOR is assuming all costs in the former, right? So, I think the problem is that consumer preference still lies with the slower trains, not yet with the HSR ? Does that make any sense?
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Old January 19th, 2012, 10:03 PM   #3435
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geography View Post
Real name tickets affect passengers throughout the year, not just Lunar New Year. The debate over ticket prices in general morphed into a debate over ticket prices during Lunar New Year when unique circumstances are in effect: overwhelming demand, especially from poor migrant workers who cannot travel any other time.

But what about the rest of the year, when social stability from millions of migrants going home is not at stake? Should the railways raise ticket prices to maximize revenue?
Yes, they can certainly raise the price on train tickets to maximize revenue. In fact, they have been doing that on all train services, particularly on HSR service. However, there is a limit to how high the price can be raised, as the affordability aspect starts to impact the equation. I am sure you can find information readily available on the web regarding complaints about the high price of train tickets.

Additionally, we need to understand and remember that public transportation is by and large a public good. As a result, it can seldomly be governed only by a single micro-economic model of supply and demand with price being the lever. Like other utility services, railway services also tends to have natural monopoly characteristics because of their huge capital requirement and long lead time on capacity buildup where short term supply is more or less fixed while demand can swing a great deal. So you have to come up with other non-economical way to help solve or control the problem.
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Old January 19th, 2012, 10:13 PM   #3436
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Well, the prices for HSR are already pretty high (compared to the regular trains) because of the whole thing about freight offsetting the costs of the latter, while the MOR is assuming all costs in the former, right? So, I think the problem is that consumer preference still lies with the slower trains, not yet with the HSR ? Does that make any sense?
Not quite sure what you mean here. Are you saying that revenue from passenger services is being used to subsidies freight transport? or the other way around.

Additionally, I don't think the fundamental issue is consumer prefers slower trains than HSR. True, there was a big price shock in the systerm when HSR service were being introduced at first, but I think the public is getting over that by now (by the way, my personal opinion and only my personal opinion is that the media has way overplayed the price issue. The price of a HSR ticket is really not that high in comparison to everything else these days).

The fundamental problem is that the transportation capacity of the Chinese railway is still way behind the demand, period.
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Old January 19th, 2012, 10:30 PM   #3437
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I believe freight revenue is actually subsiding the passenger service, freight cost in China is higher than the US IIRC. But there is a discussion that should be reserved for the China Railway thread instead of the HSR thread.
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Old January 20th, 2012, 07:05 PM   #3438
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I believe freight revenue is actually subsiding the passenger service, freight cost in China is higher than the US IIRC. But there is a discussion that should be reserved for the China Railway thread instead of the HSR thread.
Agreed, my understanding is also that freight transport is subsiding the passenger service in China.
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Old January 20th, 2012, 09:18 PM   #3439
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I believe freight revenue is actually subsiding the passenger service, freight cost in China is higher than the US IIRC. But there is a discussion that should be reserved for the China Railway thread instead of the HSR thread.
I think it is highly relevant...if we're discussing the pricing of HSR...Both are operated by MOR and the fact that they can subsidize the trains that use the same track as the freight but can't for HSR is an important thing to know.
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Old January 20th, 2012, 11:18 PM   #3440
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Originally Posted by phoenixboi08 View Post
I think it is highly relevant...if we're discussing the pricing of HSR...Both are operated by MOR and the fact that they can subsidize the trains that use the same track as the freight but can't for HSR is an important thing to know.
Well, we are discussing China's railway price in general, not just HSR. Also under MOR freight revenue subside all passenger services, conventional and HSR, and mistresses....
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