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Old March 12th, 2011, 10:09 AM   #841
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
electronic machines (now a commodity in most rail systems)
Except in Italy If there are, at least 50% of them are broken or never put in use (in Milan S-Bahn tunnel, for at least 12 years there was absolutely no way to purchase tickets as ticket machines were installed but never put into use until recently)

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What's so great about yield management then? The only thing I see in it is a lot of discomfort and headaches for the passengers.
Nothing, but it's trendy. It may maximize revenue but it reduces traffic, so from a tranansportation point of view it's a disaster.
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Old March 12th, 2011, 06:49 PM   #842
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What's so great about yield management then? The only thing I see in it is a lot of discomfort and headaches for the passengers.
Not at all. Yield management provides much cheaper tickets for travellers. At least for those who know what they want. Furthermore does this system provide a maximum of flexibility as the last empty seats are prohibitively expensive and are virtually reserved for those who desperately need them.

This is where standard of fixed ticket prices fails miserably. Tickets are extremely expensive and you don't even get a seat.
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Old March 12th, 2011, 07:17 PM   #843
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Nothing, but it's trendy. It may maximize revenue but it reduces traffic, so from a tranansportation point of view it's a disaster.
Yield management doesn't reduce traffic on itself. On the contrary, it allows savvy people (students returning home for a holiday, families travelling together, retirees etc.) to buy very cheap fares if they plan in advance. At the same time, it charges more for those willing to pay to travel, namely the ones deciding to take long-distance trip departing within 20 minutes.


Look at DB, for instance: one could travel on ICE trains paying as little as € 29 from Mannheim to Berlin, from Bremen to München, if one plans with 2/3 weeks in advance, while the fare will cost €75+ if bought just before departure for the same train/class.

Trenitalia changed, again, its fare system and now offers more varied discounts based on a closed-box model (previously, they had some rules like "tickets must be bought at least 14 days in advance" and 3 or 4 predefined discount categories that disappeared in favor of just a flexible, a normal and a "discounted" fare (with great variance on % off normal fare based on train, route, day, status of the reservations for that train etc.)

As a whole, it is plausible to make the case that yield management increases ridership, as it hit with higher prices those with diminished price-demand elasticity and offers lower prices to those whose decision to travel is very contingent on fares. There is one group of negatively affected passengers: those who can't plan journeys in advance and are priced out of trains due to hefty on-spot prices, but they are not inherently more entitled to travel for an "affordable fare" than the ones who bought tickets in advance and are only travelling because of very low fares.

Airlines have brought Yield Management to the state-of-the-art. Sure, aircrafts are subject to some more stringent constraints like an usually higher load factor than trains and total impossibility of taking unnamed passengers on board, but still they show how yield management, in the long term, push for lower average fares (at expense, as I told, of the ones who don't have much money but can't plan in advance and thus are forced to desist from travelling or go by car or other alternative mean of transportation).
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Old March 12th, 2011, 08:08 PM   #844
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It may be reasonable to plan a 600 km trip a few days or weeks in advance, but not an 80 km long one like 80% or so of trips done in Italy (and I suppose Germany), with medium cities spaced 40 to 80 km apart.
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Old March 12th, 2011, 10:01 PM   #845
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Let alone commuters.

The main mistake he makes is that he compares yield management of budget airlines to trains claiming that it will deliver higher passenger numbers and higher profits. But budget airlines opened air travel to people who never or rairly used it before. That wouldn't be true for train operators applying yield management.
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Old March 13th, 2011, 07:09 AM   #846
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Yield management has proven very succesful on Thalys and ICE trains, indeed. I can see the advantages of it on those trains: a trip from Amsterdam - Paris is usually planned at least a few weeks (if not months) in advance. Just like I booked my vacation home for mid-Juni a month ago.

However, yield management makes no sense at all for commuter traffic. People travelling up and down the same route up to 5 times a week aren't interested in booking early to save money. Those people either want fixed prices or a month pass, whichever is cheaper.

For trips up to two hours of length, yield management isn't interesting. It decreases flexibility for most of the passengers (who are either commuters or students) while making the railway's systems more complex.

Fyra in the Netherlands has already proven this. You can buy tickets last minute (which means buying a normal ticket and a surcharge) or you can book in advance (even up to minutes before departure) and pay a price that is even lower than the normal ticket price. Almost nobody bought these tickets.

Yield management also means giving up flexibility: you are bound to take a certain train on a certain day, if you miss it you have to buy a new ticket. People generally don't like giving up this kind of flexibility, and definitely not for a short trip.
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Old March 13th, 2011, 07:39 AM   #847
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But yield management can be done is ways other than train-specific, date-specific reservations. The most common and simple way of doing yield management on commuter trains is using peak/off-peak fares. It is common, and by the way, Netherlands do that with great success.

You can even make this model more sophisticated with different prices according to routes and premium prices for travel at peak times in routes that involve choking points (lines or stations) on the network - all without resorting to advance purchase in the traditional sense.

By the way, selling route passes (weekly, monthly) is also a form of yield management resorting to advance purchase. When such route passes are not subsidized, they usually mean regular users who prepay their journeys in form of a pass get a lower average price per journey that those deciding to travel sporadically. The reasoning, again, is simple: it is far easy to manage capacity if you have many pass holders on a specific route and, on the other hand, people showing up at the station at the last minute will be less sensible to the price of one round-trip (as opposed to the price of 22 trips over a month for a regular user).
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Old March 17th, 2011, 03:27 PM   #848
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The "Tarifvertrag" that the EVG signed with DB and the private companies applies to bascially the whole sector. And do you think that DB really could just "shift" employees in to a different company where compensation is lower? Workers do have rights in Germany, you know.
well, then obviously the strikes are just for fun ...
you probably should share your wisdom with the GDL ....
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Old March 18th, 2011, 01:51 PM   #849
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- for all trains, abolish the outdated practice of selling tickets onboard. Conductors should be there only to provide some information but, in regard of fares, only to FINE, severely, people travelling without proper tickets, not to sell tickets for lazy people who can't come 3-5 minutes early to buy a ticket from electronic machines (now a commodity in most rail systems).
I guess that's why after DB abolished this possibility, private operators started to offer it again with DB following suit, even advertising this as an additional service. People seem to like it and I don't see why it's better to let conductors sit around doing nothing instead of offering additional services such as this one.
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Old March 19th, 2011, 12:57 AM   #850
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I guess that's why after DB abolished this possibility, private operators started to offer it again with DB following suit, even advertising this as an additional service. People seem to like it and I don't see why it's better to let conductors sit around doing nothing instead of offering additional services such as this one.
Because it creates incentive for some small minority of idiots who think they are entitled to travel for to game the system. Like lying about their actual origin and destinations.

Moreover, I think all train travel should be traceable, even if not pegged to time and train specific seats. Maybe with compulsory use of gates or some other smartcard technology coupled with heavy (I mean at least € 200, 300) fines for whomever boards a train without a ticket. That would make identification of criminals and vandals more easy. For instance, whomever is caught painting graffiti on a train can be given a 10-year ban on trains and lose student transit privileges. But you need means to track people.

In any case, many people take advantage of the possibility of buying tickets on board to gamble the system, never buy a ticket on busier routes and just buy a ticket without fines when faced with a conductor.

So I think on anti-terrorism and anti-criminal grounds on-board selling of tickets should be banned, as should travelling without identification tied to some ticket-control (like Oyester totems on stations that are not gated)
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Old March 19th, 2011, 05:15 AM   #851
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Moreover, I think all train travel should be traceable, even if not pegged to time and train specific seats.
Why on earth would you ever want that? What's the benefit of it?
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Maybe with compulsory use of gates or some other smartcard technology coupled with heavy (I mean at least € 200, 300) fines for whomever boards a train without a ticket.
That is a completely different story and that is already in practice today. When the gates close at the larger Dutch railway stations, you've already got that covered.

Fines are in place as well (a € 35 surcharge in the Netherlands) but one doesn't need a complex gating or smartcard system to be able to give a fine. People will evade the system (jumping over a gate for instance) and they will lie about their origin and destination, no matter what.
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That would make identification of criminals and vandals more easy. For instance, whomever is caught painting graffiti on a train can be given a 10-year ban on trains and lose student transit privileges. But you need means to track people.
News flash: most graffiti artists are bored teenagers. They don't do it at railway station, instead at a railway yard late at night when almost nobody is there except for maybe a guard. You'd have to find the 'artists' first, arrest them, try to find out who they are (they usually don't carry ID and with punishments of the magnitude you propose they are very unlikely to cooperate).
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In any case, many people take advantage of the possibility of buying tickets on board to gamble the system, never buy a ticket on busier routes and just buy a ticket without fines when faced with a conductor.

So I think on anti-terrorism and anti-criminal grounds on-board selling of tickets should be banned, as should travelling without identification tied to some ticket-control (like Oyester totems on stations that are not gated)
Even with automated systems such as gates and smartcards, people will gamble the system. They will find a way to hack it (see OV-chipkaart), to abuse it, and some will even resort to violence if they deem that to be necessary.

But, since you consider all this to be a good idea, I assume you are also a proponent of very accurate 24/7 GPS tracking of every car in a database that is accessible to the police and other law enforcement, with fully automated speeding tickets sent out? And I can safely assume you are also a proponent of taking DNA and fingerprints of each inhibitant of this planet, storing it in globally accessible databases accessible to law enforcement as well, so any wrongdoing (such as: pressing bubblegum to the underside of a public picknick table) can easily be traced back to a person?
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Old March 20th, 2011, 02:53 AM   #852
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The most important problem with those bullshit ideas are privacy regulations and legal principles (you can't ban someone from trains as a legal punishment, at least in Germany).
And the question has to be asked: Is it economically feasible? Or makes it more sense to accept that some offenders will fly under the radar and not annoy all the passengers you have?
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Old March 20th, 2011, 11:44 AM   #853
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Because it creates incentive for some small minority of idiots who think they are entitled to travel for to game the system. Like lying about their actual origin and destinations.

Moreover, I think all train travel should be traceable, even if not pegged to time and train specific seats. Maybe with compulsory use of gates or some other smartcard technology coupled with heavy (I mean at least € 200, 300) fines for whomever boards a train without a ticket. That would make identification of criminals and vandals more easy. For instance, whomever is caught painting graffiti on a train can be given a 10-year ban on trains and lose student transit privileges. But you need means to track people.

In any case, many people take advantage of the possibility of buying tickets on board to gamble the system, never buy a ticket on busier routes and just buy a ticket without fines when faced with a conductor.

So I think on anti-terrorism and anti-criminal grounds on-board selling of tickets should be banned, as should travelling without identification tied to some ticket-control (like Oyester totems on stations that are not gated)
Oh, boy. So fanatics of the "Big Brother" society do exist... In the same respect let's listen to everyone's private phone. That way the "vandals" would have trouble planing their "crimes"...

Now, really, your speach is absolutely silly. Do you really want to sacrifice the freedom of everybody just to prevent some "bored teenagers" spray arround?!
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Old March 20th, 2011, 03:55 PM   #854
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Moreover, I think all train travel should be traceable, even if not pegged to time and train specific seats. Maybe with compulsory use of gates or some other smartcard technology coupled with heavy (I mean at least € 200, 300) fines for whomever boards a train without a ticket. That would make identification of criminals and vandals more easy. For instance, whomever is caught painting graffiti on a train can be given a 10-year ban on trains and lose student transit privileges. But you need means to track people.
How about implanting a chip into every person? When they enter the train, they're automatically charged for the trip.
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Old March 20th, 2011, 04:18 PM   #855
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How about implanting a chip into every person? When they enter the train, they're automatically charged for the trip.
That would be against my notions of personal privacy and akin to a Police State. Public transportation, OTOH, is optional. All air passengers are scanned, screened and traced, why shouldn't train passengers be?
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Old March 20th, 2011, 04:33 PM   #856
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Maybe because there are far more train than airline passengers? Just think of the people who commute to work everyday. Trains are already packed enough to begin with, putting people through an additional routine of having to go thru gates etc would just be too much imo.
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Old March 20th, 2011, 05:34 PM   #857
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That airlines suffer from the over the top malpractice that is known as tracing, no-fly-lists, TSA patdowns and whatmore doesn't mean we should apply the same to trains.

It happens with Eurostar: check-in required, X-ray scanning, passport control, but I can understand it there. The passport-control is necessary because the UK is not part of the Schengen agreement (so there are border checks just like before the EU got rid of those) and for the safety in the tunnel a quick X-ray scan is performed to check for explosives - better safe than sorry at 35 km depth.

However, I wouldn't want any of this for my regular day-to-day commute from Breda to Utrecht.
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Old March 20th, 2011, 06:50 PM   #858
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Bombardier Talent 2 finally gets approval, but only with restriction (1 unit
train, only 140 kmph, short revision times)


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Old March 20th, 2011, 08:27 PM   #859
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That would be against my notions of personal privacy and akin to a Police State. Public transportation, OTOH, is optional. All air passengers are scanned, screened and traced, why shouldn't train passengers be?
Because getting on a train isn't the only way to blow one up. Unless terrorists hang around in invisible hot air balloons waiting to pounce on the first plane to come by, I don't understand why you don't understand that it is a silly comparison.
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Old March 30th, 2011, 03:25 PM   #860
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DB calls temporary halt to Stuttgart 21
30 March 2011
Railway Gazette International
http://www.railwaygazette.com/nc/new...ttgart-21.html


GERMANY: Deutsche Bahn announced on March 29 its intention to cease work temporarily on the Stuttgart 21 project to rebuild the city’s main station.

DB Board Member, Technical, Dr Volker Kefer confirmed that no further contracts would be let and no more construction work undertaken until a new government has been sworn in for the Land of Baden-Württemberg.

Recent elections saw the Christian Democrats defeated by a coalition of the Social Democratic and Green parties, both of which oppose the €7bn Stuttgart 21 project.

DB says that it will resume negotiations once the new administration takes office in May.

The plans to redevelop the historic Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof have met with vociferous protests, both locally and nationally, focused on the cost and environmental impact of the work.

DB envisages rebuilding the station on the same site 12 m below ground, with through platforms that would avoid the need for time-consuming reversal of long-distance ICE and other services.

Most of the historic main building would be retained, providing access to the four platforms and eight tracks of the future station where the design would allow daylight to penetrate to track level.

The site of the existing station and approach tracks would be released for development, including commercial and residential buildings with extensive office accommodation.

The leader of the Social Democratic Party in Baden-Württemberg, Nils Schmid, welcomed DB’s decision, adding that his party ‘wanted to let the citizens decide’ the fate of Stuttgart 21.
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