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Old October 6th, 2015, 11:37 PM   #2981
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And that is, of course, not counting VAT (which is a general tax).

My point is this: just because transportation is a public service, doesn't mean it should necessarily be or be not funded out of general taxation.
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Old October 7th, 2015, 02:42 AM   #2982
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A bit out of date but you will notice in 2006 road traffic only accounted for 23% of Dutch fuel use in 2006 and was trending lower. And I bet that 23% included lawnmowers
Plus all the fuel cars burn will start to come at a cost

But this is a silly argument, the roads budget is not related to the expected btw take from fuel or car purchase. What about bike lanes, is the btw from bells and other accessories funding them? I would also argue all the small cobble lock streets probably don't come under the national budget.
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Old October 7th, 2015, 10:19 AM   #2983
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Fuel taxes collected 260% more money than all expenses in the car infrastructure of the road network, so that argument is somehow moot.
Do you have a source for that? Because I guess this does not really include everything like all kinds of city streets, parking facilities (not only building and maintaining them, but what is the cost of space they take in the public space?). Then you probably don't count external cost.
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Old October 7th, 2015, 11:11 AM   #2984
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Do you have a source for that? Because I guess this does not really include everything like all kinds of city streets, parking facilities (not only building and maintaining them, but what is the cost of space they take in the public space?). Then you probably don't count external cost.
I compared the road fuel duty (exclusive of VAT, which is paid over it!) and the car registration/purchase fees/taxes, meaning the taxes the Dutch government only collects because of vehicular road use, with the expenditures of RWS.

Opportunity cost of space used by linear infrastructure is always very tricky to measure. At extremes, if roads, highways, railways, pipelines, transmission lines didn't exist, life would be exgtremely harsh. Infrastructure is somehow needed to modern life so we can't just measure the value of land in, Rotterdam, and the assume that if you ripped A16, A20, A15, A13, and also all the overground railways, and built skyscrapers over the space, the city would still work and the rest of land have the same value.

Same go for trains, we cannot talk of the land opportunity cost of Rotterdam Centraal or Amsterdam Science Park and them assume the presence of these stations is exogenous to the real estate prices nearby (or all over the city)

I'm not denying there are health externalities, climate externalities etc.
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Old October 7th, 2015, 12:29 PM   #2985
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Railways in Holland are built using public funds.

The road network is not expected to turn a profit, society can't do without it. Why shold the rail network be treated differently.

That's not the point I'm making. Railways indeed have a positive externality, just as roads have.
I however don't see anything wrong with a railway turning a profit if it can. Why should the added value a railway produces only go to it's customers?
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Old October 7th, 2015, 01:21 PM   #2986
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Because the system isn't as good as it needs to be yet. If the system's perfect, and there's a profit, first prices should be lowered. Still perfect and a making money? > profit.
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Old October 7th, 2015, 01:53 PM   #2987
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Because the system isn't as good as it needs to be yet. If the system's perfect, and there's a profit, first prices should be lowered. Still perfect and a making money? > profit.
Perfection doesn't exist.

Again, why should all the added value go to the customers? What is wrong with the company actually producing the added value getting a part of it?
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Old October 7th, 2015, 02:07 PM   #2988
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Because people are paying for service. The 'company' is owned by the government, and therefore is supposed to benefit the people (investing), rather than leeching. Same case could be made with roads. But then again, "improving" roads often comes down to widening, which is often not possible or wanted because of health/safety/ecological/space reasons.
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Old October 7th, 2015, 04:29 PM   #2989
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Because people are paying for service. The 'company' is owned by the government, and therefore is supposed to benefit the people (investing), rather than leeching.
What are you going to invest with if you don't have profits?

Profit is not leeching.
If I produce something that is worth 30 euro to you, and it costs 20 euro to me to produce it, I've produced an added value of 10 euro. Now you are saying that I should sell this to you for 20 euro, and let you have all the added value, otherwhise I'm "leeching"? Why is it wrong if I ask 25,- euro from you for it?
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Old October 7th, 2015, 08:53 PM   #2990
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A fair point if any profit made is reinvested in the system, but I think you will find, as in any company when profit is the goal (which it must be in a private business, otherwise nobody would invest) that the focus on profit will come at the expense of service.
I think we are all agreed here that like all other vital infrastructure, it is impossible to accurately calculate the value the rail system adds to the economy. Therefore the railway should focus on trying to move as many people as efficiently as possibe. If they can turn a profit doing that, fair enough but their business model should not be built around it.
Now If a private company wants to build their own network then as far as I'm concerned they are free to try and make all the profit they want.
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Old October 8th, 2015, 11:42 AM   #2991
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A fair point if any profit made is reinvested in the system,
Quite often this is indeed the case. There are quite a few major companies out there for example that systematically reinvest all their profits.
(Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway group is an example).

Quote:
but I think you will find, as in any company when profit is the goal (which it must be in a private business, otherwise nobody would invest) that the focus on profit will come at the expense of service.
Honestly I find this rarely to be the case. After all, fosusing on profit at the expense of service is about the fastest way to turn a profitable company in a non profitable one...

Quote:
I think we are all agreed here that like all other vital infrastructure, it is impossible to accurately calculate the value the rail system adds to the economy. Therefore the railway should focus on trying to move as many people as efficiently as possibe.
Trying to move as many people as possible should not always be the goal. After all, transport costs energy, even when it's done in the most efficient way possible. If you make transport to cheap the result is that people will move around to much.
You can end up with a transportation system that efficiently moves huge amounts of people, but that produces a negative added value to the economy as a whole...
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Old October 8th, 2015, 12:52 PM   #2992
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Off the top of my head you have to look at the original Railtrack in the UK, its focus on profit came at the expense of safety. More recently i don't think the "special" chip in VW cars was installed with anything more than profit in mind.


Mankind has always sought to improve mobility and worked hard to come up with innovations to do so. Such developments have usually been drivers of economic growth. Using livestock as pack animals/ riding them, the wheel, incremental improvement in boats and navigation, buiding canals, external combustion engine and the railways; internal combustion engine and automobiles, Gas turbines/ aircraft.

Railways are reflection what our socio-economic system wants. And for good or bad that is lots of people wanting to move at peak. If you restrict rail movement people just shift to other modes of transport plus your economy becomes less competetive.
In fact one could argue it is because most people want to travel at peak thereby overloading the roadnetwork that much of current railways are needed.
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Old October 8th, 2015, 02:16 PM   #2993
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NS just announced (dutch) that as of 13 december the last 31 Mat64 will be decommissioned after 50 years of service.

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Old October 8th, 2015, 02:43 PM   #2994
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@suasion, you are ignoring in all your argument a key fact: even if the government is not a private entity, some essential principles of economics still apply. If a railway system is run at operational losses (meaning: fares can't pay the regular cost of operating and keeping it in good state of repair and covering depreciation and replacement of capital assets), this means money will have to come from somewhere, namely, from public budget funds, which means, ultimately taxes (or debt to be paid by taxes).

There might, or might not, be a case for using tax money to directly fund the operation of railways. It implies spreading its costs through society and decoupling users and payers. Those are all valid discussions, but we can't say that by "not having a profit motive" NS, ProRail or the other Dutch transportation public entities could run services ignoring financial constraints altogether.
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Old October 8th, 2015, 03:41 PM   #2995
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NS just announced (dutch) that as of 13 december the last 31 Mat64 will be decommissioned after 50 years of service.
[IMG]
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I know their time is up, and they don't meet today's standards anymore. But it's still a shame. When I was a kid in the '80s and '90s, the Mat '64 was the train. We all knew what a train was supposed to look like, and they looked like the Mat '64.
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Old October 8th, 2015, 04:12 PM   #2996
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No I'm not ignoring anything.

The annual subsidy to all public transport is about 0.5% of GNP. Now I will ask you, how much do you think the Dutch public transport system contributes to GDP?

Besides the obvious of getting lots of people to work on time:

People can move to more productive jobs – this values the benefits resulting from jobs changing location into areas with higher productivity (such as Central Business Districts). Analysis shows that improving access to these clusters means that more workers are willing to work there. There are benefits to society from this:
The tax revenues associated with their higher income, because the
individual makes their decision net of tax.

Increased labour force participation – This reflects the relationship
between lower commuting costs and higher labour force participation
rates.

Agglomeration benefits – increase in productivity – this values the
increase in productivity to all existing jobs in agglomeration areas from the
marginal increase in employment density. It is an external gain from the
move to more productive jobs, described above. In this case people stay in
the same job but benefit from an increase in productivity.



Look at the UK system where the concessions focus on profit. It is alleged that the earnings from NS's UK subsidary acts as a subsidy for Dutch railways.

You should also remember the policy goals for Dutch public transport is

"The accessibility of towns and cities, the shortage of land, the quality of life in neighbourhoods, the social isolation of people – public transport contributes to a modern balanced society such as ours."

ie. There is a social function
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Old October 8th, 2015, 04:14 PM   #2997
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I know their time is up, and they don't meet today's standards anymore.
I was on one last weekend, I haven't seen one in ages. They are very poor compared to the newer sprinters, especially in terms of access.
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Old October 8th, 2015, 08:10 PM   #2998
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I know their time is up, and they don't meet today's standards anymore. But it's still a shame. When I was a kid in the '80s and '90s, the Mat '64 was the train. We all knew what a train was supposed to look like, and they looked like the Mat '64.
What is strange to me is that their design was already quite out of fashion for the time it was unveiled. Especially the nose, doesn't look modern at all for the time, but something of the 1930s
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Old October 8th, 2015, 08:52 PM   #2999
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In a pilot program, some NS staff that interacts with the public will start wearing body cameras they can quickly turn on if facing a confrontational situation with passengers.
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Old October 9th, 2015, 12:13 PM   #3000
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Sad but necessary.
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