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Old July 30th, 2012, 11:46 AM   #2181
everywhere
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Water main break cuts Line 8 into two
(Shanghai Daily, July 30)

Quote:
METRO Line 8 was cut into two separate loops yesterday with one of its stations suspended from service after a water main burst.

Although workers drained the flood by the afternoon, the incident still affected thousands of subway passengers who had to walk out into the heat to take shuttle buses.

The rupture was caused during construction at the Zhoujiadu Station of Line 8 in the Pudong New Area, which is still under construction and has not yet been opened for service, according to local Metro authorities.
more: http://www.shanghaidaily.org/nsp/Met...%2Binto%2Btwo/


3 Metro stations to close for major restoration works
(Shanghai Daily, July 30)

Quote:
Three Metro stations of Line 9 will be closed between August 7 and September 3 while the line's extension and renovation work is carried out in Shanghai's southwest.

The stations, Songjiang Xincheng, Songjiang University Town and Dongjing, are the last three stops of the line in Songjiang District, said city Metro operator today.
more: http://www.shanghaidaily.org/nsp/Met...uction%2Bwork/
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Old August 1st, 2012, 04:02 PM   #2182
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More for all cities that are building metro networks in general but there isn't a generic China construction thread so I'll put it here :

Experts fear subway costs could go off the rails
China Daily



BEIJING, July 31 -- Cities may struggle to fund and maintain ever-expanding underground systems, report Xin Dingding and Wang Xiaodong in Beijing and Shi Yingying in Shanghai.

China has spent 39 billion yuan ($6.1 billion) in the past 20 years on its manned space program, which has sent 10 craft into orbit and achieved several notable breakthroughs.

However, even that vast sum would only fund construction of 78 kilometers of subway given the current average cost of 500 million yuan for each kilometer. And for most big cities with a subway, or planning a subway, 78 km is a mere fraction of a network.

So far, 28 cities have had their plans approved by the National Development and Reform Commission. According to those plans, 2,500 km of subway will be built between 2010 and 2015.

"Construction will cost at least 1 trillion yuan in total," said Chen Xunru, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, who conducted research into subway construction and delivered a speech on his findings to the CPPCC's annual meeting in March.

Experts are concerned that the construction could strain the resources of some city governments and plunge them heavily into debt.

They are also worried that the cities may not have taken account of the possible long-term costs of operating and maintaining the network. Moreover, there are concerns that the large-scale move toward construction has resulted in a shortage of trained professionals, which in turn could lead to reduced safety levels.

China's first subway went into operation in Beijing in 1969. Three of the country's biggest cities - Tianjin, Shanghai and Guangzhou soon followed suit and opened their own systems in the 1980s and '90s.

"Subways have many advantages, including large-volume transport capacity, high efficiency levels and low energy consumption. They can also save land and boost economic development along the line. Big cities regard subways as an important means of reducing traffic congestion and upgrading their image," said Chen.

However, the belief that a subway system is a symbol of a modern metropolis means smaller cities are also keen to build. "They see subways as their chance to polish their civic image and look like a modern city," he said.

Amid the raging competition between many similar-scale cities, some lost their ability to think rationally. "Some cities are mapping subway networks that will cost their entire combined income for five years," he said.

According to Chen, a large proportion of the funds come from the government - usually around 40 percent - and bank loans. "Subways can barely attract investors, because the (low) ticket prices are set by the government to benefit the public," he said.

Local governments are likely to shoulder a heavy financial burden if they build subways, said Chen, citing figures indicating that provincial, city and county government debt had risen to more than 10 trillion yuan by 2010. "Large-scale construction of subways will pile more debt onto local governments, increasing the financial risks."

The NDRC imposed minimum requirements to prevent financially weak cities from building subways: A city must have an urban population more than 3 million, annual GDP must exceed 100 billion yuan, the local government budget must be at least 10 billion yuan, and the one-way traffic flow must reach 38,000 at peak time.

But, caught in the grip of subway fever, some cities have acted inappropriately.

In 2008, the State Council eased its grip on subway construction in the hope that infrastructure construction would further boost the economy. Zhang Yan, secretary general of the China Association of Civil Engineers, said that some cities manipulated the figures to meet the minimum requirement and obtain the green light: "Except for those in the first-tier, most other applicant cities submitted exaggerated figures for local one-way traffic flow."

Adding to the problems, enthusiastic cities tend to overlook the huge construction costs and overestimate the potential operating income. The heavy financial burden on local governments has crushed some underprepared cities.

"We're not just talking about the huge amounts of money involved in building the infrastructure. There are also annual operating and maintenance costs," said Yang Di, a manager at Shanghai Shentong Metro Group Co, which owns the Shanghai Metro and is the parent company of the listed Shanghai Shentong Metro Co.

"It's just not going to be sustainable for cities such as Nanchang, capital of Jiangxi province, or Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, given their average GDP performance," said Yang.

The fact is that it's difficult to make money from subway operations, and only Hong Kong's metro system is profitable, he added.

Dragged into debt

Even Shanghai, with a population of 23 million and GDP of 1.9 trillion yuan in 2011, has been dragged into debt. It has China's longest subway network, with 11 lines totaling 425 km by January. That's longer than New York (370 km) and catching up with London (439 km). The network is set to reach 570 km by 2013 and 877 km by 2020.

The city has the globe's fifth-busiest metro network - following Tokyo, Seoul, Moscow and Beijing - with 2.1 billion passengers in 2011, but the annual income it generates is insufficient to support itself.

Ying Minghong, board airman of Shanghai Shentong Metro Group Co, said that only Line 1 is profitable. The income from ticket sales and advertising covers its daily operating costs, but is not enough to pay for maintenance or the interest on its loans. The city's other lines are in debt.

Chen said that the interest on bank loans cost the municipal government several billion yuan, not to mention the cost of construction and other outlay.

Shanghai Shentong Metro Co had gross liabilities of 609.7 million yuan by the end of 2011, according to its annual report. The figure was 262.8 million yuan in 2009.

However, Yang Di warned that the report did not reflect the overall situation, since only what are deemed "optimal resources" are listed as a part of Shanghai Shentong Metro Co.

"I doubt there are more than five people in our company and the local government who know how much money the Shanghai metro loses every year. The problem is that it's not a simple mathematical question of adding the government's yearly subsidy and subtracting the metro's annual operating costs," said Yang.

A slew of State-owned enterprises are responsible for financing, construction, management and operation, according to Yang. For example, Shanghai Shentong Metro Group owns the system and is responsible for maintenance. Meanwhile, Shanghai Shentong Metro Co operates and manages the system, while Shanghai Jiushi Corp and Shanghai Chengtou Corp are in charge of financing.

"With their individual account books hidden in the dark, it is impossible to know the exact scale of the losses," said Yang.

According to a Xinhua News Agency analyst, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the total liabilities of the Shanghai metro exceed 100 billion yuan.

However, the situation is far from unique.

Beijing, with a population of 20 million, has 372 km of subway, which will be extended to 440 km by the end of the year and to 1,050 km by 2020, according to the Mirror Evening News in Beijing.

The local government donates around 10 billion yuan for subway construction annually and allocates another 2 billion yuan to subsidize operations and maintain the low ticket price, according to Wu Lishun, financing manager at Beijing Infrastructure Investment Co, which is responsible for financing subway construction.

It's estimated that in 2015, when the network reaches 581 km, the system will have an operating loss of 4.3 billion yuan, despite the huge traffic volume, Wu said. If depreciation and accounting costs are included, the loss will hit at least 17 billion yuan.

Costly, but not safer

Many cities now spend money on subway equipment that consumes energy and pushes up construction costs, but doesn't improve safety, according to Wang Mengshu, of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Wang, who participated in the design of the country's first subway line, said that 1 km of subway cost about 400 million yuan several years ago, but the cost has soared in the intervening years. The record is currently held by Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province, where 1 km of subway costs 800 million yuan.

One reason behind the spiraling cost is that builders blindly seek size and luxury in most cities, said Wang. "When the first subway line was built in Beijing, the platforms were smaller than 8,000 square meters. Now, none of the new platforms is smaller than 12,000 square meters," said Wang.

Wang also noted that recently built subway lines include more than 20 components, some of which he couldn't even name. "But if you look at high-speed railways, which operate faster trains and require more-sophisticated technologies, they include fewer than 10 components," said Wang.

Many of components are added out of "unnecessary safety concerns", he said, citing the example of the shield doors that have been widely adopted in newly built subway stations. The doors, which prevent access to the track from the platform, completely seal the train from the outside environment, resulting in much higher power consumption for ventilation. The shield doors are meant to prevent passengers from jumping onto the track, but such incidents have been rare in recent years.

One of the drawbacks of the complex systems is that they use too much energy, with the power to drive the engines accounting for just 30 percent of total energy consumption.

The unnecessary facilities also pose potential hazards to subway operations. "Once a small problem occurs, the whole line is halted," added Wang.

This is partly because decisions about subway construction in many cities are not made by professionals. "Since the construction of subways in most cities is guided by the government, officials often have the final say in design and construction, instead of the experts," said Wang.

The November 2008 collapse of a subway construction site in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, that killed 21 workers is a good example of the situation, he said. The local government blamed violations of construction regulations and technical failures. "But I think the accident exposed the serious consequences that can result from excessive interference by government officials in subway construction," said Wang, who inspected the accident scene.

"It normally takes three years to build a subway station of that size, but the construction period for that line was reduced by one-half by the city government," he said, adding that local government saw the completion of the subway line as an achievement of its tenure and thus attempted to reduce the construction period.

The CPPCC's Chen believed that the construction boom has resulted in a shortage of professionals: "Construction teams in many cities were scrambled to meet a deadline and untrained workers were hired. Safety cannot be guaranteed."

He suggested that the requirements for subway construction approval should be upgraded. Even if some cities meet the basic requirements, they should not be given the green light if they have problems raising funds or are able to solve traffic congestion by other means, such as improving the existing road network.

Moreover, the decision-making procedure involving subway construction should be more open and the public should be involved to prevent the plans being hijacked by parties with a vested interest, he said.
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Old August 1st, 2012, 06:34 PM   #2183
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overall the article is does reflect how I feel about China not looking at other options when planning transit corridors. Like adding tracks to existing rail corridors for some epic Japanese commuter rail instead of an overgrown metro with lines going 40km out of the city and also the lack of good local transit and feeders because everything has to be subway. But…

Quote:
One reason behind the spiraling cost is that builders blindly seek size and luxury in most cities, said Wang. "When the first subway line was built in Beijing, the platforms were smaller than 8,000 square meters. Now, none of the new platforms is smaller than 12,000 square meters," said Wang.
I bet those people riding Beijing subway line 1 wish their platform was over 12,000 sq meters.

Quote:
Many of components are added out of "unnecessary safety concerns", he said, citing the example of the shield doors that have been widely adopted in newly built subway stations.
If they are so unnecessary why do most new metros in the world start installing them? And I’m pretty sure an “unnecessary safety concerns” mentality is really what’s getting China in trouble.

Quote:
The doors, which prevent access to the track from the platform, completely seal the train from the outside environment, resulting in much higher power consumption for ventilation. The shield doors are meant to prevent passengers from jumping onto the track, but such incidents have been rare in recent years.
That’s not what I heard, I heard it saves costs because you can climate control your station better without letting all the air wash into the tunnel and get wasted like a fridge door left open.

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such as improving the existing road network.
NEVER!!! Long live rail. Anyways Chinese roads are already pretty high capacity without ruining the city too much
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 12:05 AM   #2184
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Agree with everything you have said.
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 04:04 AM   #2185
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The two most interesting things to me in that article are the statement about platform doors being unnecessary (which seems clearly wrong) and the point about certain metropolises not having sufficiently large economies to justify a subway system.

Granted, alternative light rail systems could probably take the place of subways in some cities, but considering the potential of the Chinese economy, even allowing for the slowdown that is occurring which may represent a permanent cooling, there's no reason to assume that China won't reach rich country-income levels by, say, the end of the century, and not having a subway system in a city of 2-3 million in a wealthy country seems unimaginable.

Maybe that's preparing for the future too far in advance, but one could fairly justify it that way just the same.
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 09:34 AM   #2186
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Well, even the "smaller" secondary Chinese cities are very large in terms of population. While they're not as big financially as the likes of Shanghai, I do think there is a genuine need to build mass transportation systems. This year, I rode new systems in Xian and Nanjing, which were quite crowded and popular.

The problem I find is the fare structure may not be enough to support construction, interest payments, and operating costs. While I don't have figures on the networks' profitability, charging 2-3 yuan per trip is excessively low, given the massive amounts of money being pumped into these infrastructure developments. To put things into perspective, buses typically charge 1 yuan while A/C buses charge 2.
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 06:40 PM   #2187
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline
Well, even the "smaller" secondary Chinese cities are very large in terms of population. While they're not as big financially as the likes of Shanghai, I do think there is a genuine need to build mass transportation systems. This year, I rode new systems in Xian and Nanjing, which were quite crowded and popular.

The problem I find is the fare structure may not be enough to support construction, interest payments, and operating costs. While I don't have figures on the networks' profitability, charging 2-3 yuan per trip is excessively low, given the massive amounts of money being pumped into these infrastructure developments. To put things into perspective, buses typically charge 1 yuan while A/C buses charge 2.
I agree. I believe this is more in the vein of what they are trying to point out. In many cases, metro systems are a bit too ubiquitous with mass transit. And I will admit that this is well deserved because they ARE so efficient.

However, I do think there should be concern about the cost of maintaining such a system. It's a worthwhile discussion.

For instance, in Shanghai, I think introducing a "rapid bus" and improved biking paths would help tremendously in conjunction with a more modest expansion of the Metro.
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 07:01 PM   #2188
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Originally Posted by phoenixboi08 View Post

For instance, in Shanghai, I think introducing a "rapid bus" and improved biking paths would help tremendously in conjunction with a more modest expansion of the Metro.
Although I agree Chinese cities should stop moving away from bicycles like they have these past years, I think Shanghai is one of the cities where MORE subways/metros are indeed warranted.

Now, smaller cities might have to make due with scaled back metro plans, together with smart lightrail, bus, etc, implemenation, if the cost of metro keeps going up.
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 09:43 PM   #2189
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Most, if not all Chinese cities with subways are building lines to greenfield developments without any residents before many crowded inner city areas. It proves that transit planning isn't untouched by corruption.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 12:20 AM   #2190
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Originally Posted by Silly_Walks View Post
Although I agree Chinese cities should stop moving away from bicycles like they have these past years, I think Shanghai is one of the cities where MORE subways/metros are indeed warranted.

Now, smaller cities might have to make due with scaled back metro plans, together with smart lightrail, bus, etc, implemenation, if the cost of metro keeps going up.
Oh, yes! Of course! I just also believe that a mix of improved bus services would alleviate the need for such extensive expansions...
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 12:41 AM   #2191
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Oh, yes! Of course! I just also believe that a mix of improved bus services would alleviate the need for such extensive expansions...
Do not forget surface trolleybus contact lines and streetcar tracks either.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 03:52 PM   #2192
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Do not forget surface trolleybus contact lines and streetcar tracks either.
Good point. I just think it's a good idea to incorporate mutli-modal services into the system. Especially when you have a city that's changing and growing around you.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 05:51 PM   #2193
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Facts.

All the Subway systems and
HSR in the world DON'T MAKE make profit.
In Europe and US for sure.

Even the London underground is full of debts (and even the ultra-busy "Piccadilly" Line doesn't make profit!).

If there are some TRUE (few) exceptions, please tell me, 'cause i'd really like to know (just HK???).


The question is: does China, a country with 1.3 billion of people, need more subway systems in the big cities and HSR lines (the main key projects lines in the country)?
The answer, according to me, is yes.

Plus: everytime i was in China i've seen that the subways are very busy, with a lot of people using them.
I think the HSR will increase their "popularity" too, as history shows in South Korea and Taiwan.

Anyway, to reduce losses and increase profitability,
a good policy is always required. Not just in China, but all over the world.
Because, as often happens, the problems are just the same, in every part of the world.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 06:02 PM   #2194
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Facts.

All the Subway systems and
HSR in the world DON'T MAKE make profit.
In Europe and US for sure.
Tell me, what street makes a profit?

None? Ok, let's stop making streets.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 06:33 PM   #2195
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George08 View Post
Facts.

All the Subway systems and
HSR in the world DON'T MAKE make profit.
In Europe and US for sure.

Anyway, to reduce losses and increase profitability,
a good policy is always required. Not just in China, but all over the world.
Because, as often happens, the problems are just the same, in every part of the world.
*First, to be clear, I don't think anyone is saying that China is an anomaly on this. And the point isn't to "bash" China.

Secondly, yes, you are EXACTLY correct and that is the point. This isn't about pointing the finger at China. This about questioning if subways are ALWAYS the best option when planning public transport. I say, no, not always. There is definitely a point at which you reach "saturation:"a certain point at which expanding a system would give you diminishing returns (costs far exceed the potential increases in ridership).

For instance, in Shanghai, most of the expansions that make sense are those that are connecting peripheral areas to the center (the Pudong New Area is one example). However, a lot of the plans for the intercity could be more effective if they instead focused on improving bus services.

Current System:


Short Term Plan:


Bus lines are far more fluid than subways (you can move stations and change routes far more easily than you can a subway).

And, as you said, the proof is in the pudding. We KNOW that metro lines require huge maintenance costs, which is why some thought should go into the need for such rapid and expansive construction. This isn't a "China-only" issue. I see the same problem with LightRail in the US...in many of these cities, improved bus services could do more - and for far less money - than building a rail line.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 06:41 PM   #2196
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Quote:
Tell me, what street makes a profit?
What about toll roads? The fact that private investors build toll roads indicate roads can be profitable.

The question we should all be asking is why aren't subways profitable? They have an easy way of collecting revenue, unlike roads. What's wrong with the trying to maximize revenue and minimize costs? The subway can raise ticket prices to the point where profit is maximized, if there is profit to be made.

The consumer has a decision to make: how much is the convenience of the subway by avoiding traffic jams worth? How much is the savings from not purchasing a car and/or gasoline worth to the consumer?

There are two positive externalities that justify subsidizing subways: the reduction in traffic and pollution. But that doesn't mean subways should be free to riders, or that every subway cost is worth it. You need some rough model of the costs and benefits.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 06:54 PM   #2197
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What about toll roads? The fact that private investors build toll roads indicate roads can be profitable.

The question we should all be asking is why aren't subways profitable? They have an easy way of collecting revenue, unlike roads. What's wrong with the trying to maximize revenue and minimize costs? The subway can raise ticket prices to the point where profit is maximized, if there is profit to be made.

The consumer has a decision to make: how much is the convenience of the subway by avoiding traffic jams worth? How much is the savings from not purchasing a car and/or gasoline worth to the consumer?

There are two positive externalities that justify subsidizing subways: the reduction in traffic and pollution. But that doesn't mean subways should be free to riders, or that every subway cost is worth it. You need some rough model of the costs and benefits.
That is quite true. It is important to keep in mind, that current fares ARE rather low (Shanghai: 3 RMB, $0.47, for the first km and 1RMB, $0.15, for every subsequent km after that - the highest fare you could possibly get is 9 RMB, 1.41). Something I am too quick to forget. So, to be fair, I guess the picture we are getting now IS skewed. However, how far and how quickly can we even expect fares to increase?

Also, maybe it'd be much more fruitful to discuss why Line 1 is profitable as opposed to whether or not a metro system ever can? We know it can be, and we know that too often it isn't. So, what are the mitigating factors?
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 07:07 PM   #2198
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George08 View Post
If there are some TRUE (few) exceptions, please tell me, 'cause i'd really like to know (just HK???).
Hong Kong, Taipei, Osaka, Singapore, Tokyo and Delhi are the only metros that make a profit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by George08 View Post
Facts.

All the Subway systems and
HSR in the world DON'T MAKE make profit.
In Europe and US for sure.

Even the London underground is full of debts (and even the ultra-busy "Piccadilly" Line doesn't make profit!).
Well China is in East Asia (look at cities above) the only place where rail transit can possibly make money, so the expectation somewhat is valid (you mad Seoul?). Though I don’t like the article in question's criteria for removing a subway as an option and its cost effectiveness comparisons is a pretty skewed and short-sighted. That being said like the Seoul metro, East Asian systems don’t have to make money; though if Chinese metros do make money in the future then that will be icing on the cake for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by George08 View Post
The question is: does China, a country with 1.3 billion of people, need more subway systems in the big cities and HSR lines (the main key projects lines in the country)?
The answer, according to me, is yes.
Plus: everytime i was in China i've seen that the subways are very busy, with a lot of people using them.
I think the HSR will increase their "popularity" too, as history shows in South Korea and Taiwan.
Anyway, to reduce losses and increase profitability,
a good policy is always required.
Luckily the central government agrees too.

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Originally Posted by phoenixboi08 View Post
That is quite true. It is important to keep in mind, that current fares ARE rather low (Shanghai: 3 RMB, $0.47, for the first km and 1RMB, $0.15, for every subsequent km after that - the highest fare you could possibly get is 9 RMB, 1.41). Something I am too quick to forget. So, to be fair, I guess the picture we are getting now IS skewed. However, how far and how quickly can we even expect fares to increase?
as disposable incomes of the avg. Chinese rise fares can rise quickly to Tokyo or HK levels.

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Originally Posted by phoenixboi08 View Post
Also, maybe it'd be much more fruitful to discuss why Line 1 is profitable as opposed to whether or not a metro system ever can? We know it can be, and we know that too often it isn't. So, what are the mitigating factors?
few things:
Firstly, like every metro in china the HK MTR probably helped with a few pointers and they know what they are doing. Just look at what they did to Delhi. Secondly, Its the oldest line so it has time to build up ridership base and a lifestyle around it so off-peak trips are numerous and not as money losing. Thirdly, cost effectiveness A-size trains are quite large by world standards a car carries ~310 people crush load so a train carries ~ 2,480 paying customers but you still pay only 2 people to drive it. Unlike say the Piccadilly line which uses smaller trains and carries less people but still needs 2 staff to drive it, so less cost effective.

Last edited by saiho; November 30th, 2012 at 12:52 AM. Reason: grammer
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 07:23 PM   #2199
drunkenmunkey888
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What Shanghai needs is a good commuter rail system for the outlying districts and Jiangsu/Zhejiang suburbs. Commuter rail can be adjusted much more easily to accommodate ridership differences between peak hour/weekends and have set schedules so that there is no ambiguity about when the next train is coming. They can accommodate greater seating as well. Shanghai is simply too big to have just one massive rail system with only metro specifications.

BTW HK MTR is profitable because they engage in real estate development. It would be interesting to see if only the metro operation segment is profitable although I highly doubt it.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 07:38 PM   #2200
Silly_Walks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drunkenmunkey888 View Post
BTW HK MTR is profitable because they engage in real estate development. It would be interesting to see if only the metro operation segment is profitable although I highly doubt it.
HK MTR makes a profit on tickets alone.
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