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Old July 6th, 2009, 08:14 PM   #1
Northsider
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MISC | Price of Subway Fares Around the World

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009...-the-world.php



On Monday, New Yorkers riding the subway to work were met with a costlier spin of the turnstile: a 12 percent increase in their fares, from $2 to $2.25, as the Metropolitan Transit Authority copes with a severe $2 billion deficit.

But how does the new, much-bemoaned cost of admission to the country's biggest subway (and bus) network stack up against fares in other world-class cities? And how well in general does the New York City subway, well, fare?

In relative, U.S. terms, New York's subway looks like a hands-down winner. It's not the prettiest subway, but it's fairly reliable, carries more riders than all other American subway systems combined, and (until Beijing finishes its subway) is the most extensive network in the world (see these to-scale subway maps from around the world), with 660 miles of track. (Plus, its decaying look isn't so bad -- it practically defines New York's rusty charm.)

New York's is also the only subway to run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

And in comparison to the fares of other subway systems in the "developed" world, New York's falls near the middle (that's not as good as free, as labor arbitrator Ted Kheel has demanded for decades, but hey). London, predictably enough, is the most expensive subway system by far.



These are only a handful of the world's subway systems, and I plan to update the list in the near future.

The calculation of cost could be complicated by off-peak prices, reduced fares for seniors and students and the price-per-ride using monthly passes. I am not estimating those fares here, only the cost of a standard one-time use ticket. In cases where subway fares are variable, I did my best to use an average or standard fare, or for London, the fare for zone one the average cost of travel using the Oyster card at peak times in zone 1. (Corrections and updates welcome.)

Average fare estimates when taking subway passes into account drives fares down. The New York MTA puts the average price of a typical subway fare at $1.96, factoring in the free fare riders get for every $8 they put on their Metrocard.

Meanwhile, San Francisco's BART and DC's Metro -- two of the newest U.S. metro systems (1972 and 1976, respectively; LA's subway is the newest) -- are the only American networks listed here to rely on zone or distance-based pricing. The further you travel, the more expensive the fare.

Such a system potentially makes the per mile cost of those subways cheaper. In cities with fixed fares, meanwhile, riders who travel short distances are effectively helping to pay for the cost of those who travel longer distances.

Still, I tend to think the costs of zone-pricing outweigh the benefits. Not only can it make subway travel considerably more expensive than it might otherwise be, but it presumably adds more management costs for the subway and more complication (and okay, aggravation) for riders who don't want to get their ticket out every time they leave the subway. I'm not sure fast-paced New Yorkers could stand for the kind of turnstile gridlock that could ensue, in the way that Bay Area or DC riders might be able to.

Why is New York City Raising the Subway Fare?
None of this is to suggest that the New York City subway is perfect. As the city's Straphangers Campaign notes, it's still got many miles (of track) to go. And fare hikes do not always equal better service. In the case of New York City amidst a recession, that equation remains elusive: the MTA will still need to cut back on service in order to balance its budget.

The fare hike, which also brings the price of a monthly MetroCard to $89 from $81, could well bring with it another set of problems. In times of recession, the demand elasticity of subway fare hikes -- how willing will New Yorkers be to ride the subway as the fare rises -- goes down.

And while the New York subway saw record numbers of riders in 2008 -- 2.37 billion rides, a 3.1 percent increase from 2007 -- the subway has been suffering from a drop in ridership every month since the start of 2009. New York could well be in for a vicious cycle of low ridership + fare hikes and service cuts, which leads to even lower ridership, which might justify more hikes and cuts, and so on.

Whether a fare hike will ultimately drive more New Yorkers to cars remains to be seen. One analysis done during a 2008 fare hike estimated that half of lost subway rides become car trips. But while the cost of gas is down, so are incomes. Perhaps more citizens will be drawn to bicycles.

Either way, as mass transit systems around the U.S. (and the world) face budgetary woes, the pattern of fare hikes/service cuts/ridership drops could well become familiar. Higher fares are also due to hit San Francisco on July 1 -- an increase of 20 cents to $3.18.

What Makes a Subway Fare Fair?
A more thorough analysis might take into account the relative cost of a subway ride (incomes in China are much lower than in the U.S.), delays, quality of service, speed, ridership, how much fares make up each systems' funding (New York, incidentally, draws the most from its fareboxes for revenue), and of course ongoing improvements and maintenance. Perhaps rat sightings should also be incorporated into our comparison.

And when determining the value of a subway fare, the fiscal woes of each city might also be taken into account. (The News Hour is chronicling fiscal problems with a handy map in the U.S.)

Thus, cost isn't the biggest question. How do we estimate the value we're getting out of each fare?

That is, how fair is the fare?

We may agree that New York's is the most reliable and largest subway system on balance, and in the grand scheme, still a pretty darn good value.

And even if the other subways aren't as good values, or even if they're better, with smart planning and smart investment (including, sometimes, fare hikes), they are providing a healthy alternative to the automobile.

Thanks to world.nycsubway.org and goodspeedupdate.
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Old July 6th, 2009, 08:20 PM   #2
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I'd never buy a single fare on the Underground. Oyster all the way!
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Old July 6th, 2009, 08:50 PM   #3
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Me too. I just got the Oyster when I was there.
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Old July 6th, 2009, 08:55 PM   #4
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fare for using subways???
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Old July 6th, 2009, 09:17 PM   #5
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Dubai Metro (starting 09-09-09)

1 USD = 3.65 AED

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Old July 6th, 2009, 09:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
In relative, U.S. terms, New York's subway looks like a hands-down winner. It's not the prettiest subway, but it's fairly reliable, carries more riders than all other American subway systems combined, and (until Beijing finishes its subway) is the most extensive network in the world (see these to-scale subway maps from around the world), with 660 miles of track. (Plus, its decaying look isn't so bad -- it practically defines New York's rusty charm.)
Technically right about the track length, but the "most extensive network in the world" claim is deceiving to the reader.

Still, the NY subway is a deal, especially considering that there are no fare zones at all.
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Old July 6th, 2009, 09:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xusein View Post
Technically right about the track length, but the "most extensive network in the world" claim is deceiving to the reader.

Still, the NY subway is a deal, especially considering that there are no fare zones at all.
True. Also, NYC isn't the only city with 24/7/365 metro.
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Old July 6th, 2009, 10:21 PM   #8
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Stadtbahn Cologne, S-Bahn Cologne and Stadtbahn Bonn:

Fare depends on the distance, all prices in €.

Single trip adult:

1,60/2,40/3,30/4,20/6,50/9,60

Single trip child:

0,90/1,20/1,60/2,10/3,20/4,70

4-trip adult:

5,80/6,70/8,30/11,70/15,00/23,00/33,90

4-trip child:

3,50/4,50/6,10/8,00/12,00/17,70


Stadtbahn Rhein-Ruhr and S-Bahn Rhein-Ruhr:

Fare depends on the distance, all prices in €.

Single trip adult:

1,30/2,20/4,30/8,90/10,50

Single trip child:

1,30

4-trip adult:

4,50/7,70/15,00/30,70/35,70

4-trip child:

4,50/4,60


U-Bahn Berlin and S-Bahn Berlin:

Fare depends on the distance, all prices in €.

Single trip adult:

1,30/2,10/2,50/2,80

Single trip child:

1,00/1,40/1,70/2,00

4-trip adult:

8,00

4-trip child:

5,30
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Old July 7th, 2009, 10:54 AM   #9
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Sofia, Bulgaria

Here is a list of prices on our metro (currently only 1 line with 14 stations):

Single ticket - valid for one journey of 1 h on the metro, or for one ride on every other PT vehicle: 1.00 BGN = 0.511 EUR (1 former DEM);
Two rides on different lines/types of transport, valid for 1h: 1.40 BGN = 0.71 EUR;
1-day travel card: 4.00 BGN = 2.04 EUR;
5-day travel card: 15.00 BGN = 7.66 EUR;
1-month travel card for one PT line: 23.00 BGN = 11.75 EUR;
1-month travel card - whole network: 50.00 BGN = 25.57 EUR...

There are also reductions for students, seniors etc.q which I won't quote here...
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Old July 7th, 2009, 12:34 PM   #10
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But what is the point in comparing single trips as was done in that article? Most PT operators offer huge discounts for longer tickets (weekly, monthly or seasonal tickets for example). Also, most operators allow these tickets to be used on other modes as well.
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Old July 7th, 2009, 01:59 PM   #11
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Price in Bucharest for a single trip (regardless of zone) is about 40 cents (US$ cents)...by the looks of that graph, ours is one of the cheapest in the world
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Old July 7th, 2009, 02:16 PM   #12
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In Tehran - 125 tomans which is $0.12. Envy all.
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Old July 7th, 2009, 04:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
But what is the point in comparing single trips as was done in that article?
So they can compare...? Apples to apples.

By the way, I had no intention of making this a "post your city's transit fare" thread. I just wanted to share the article.
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Old July 7th, 2009, 04:06 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northsider View Post
So they can compare...? Apples to apples.

By the way, I had no intention of making this a "post your city's transit fare" thread. I just wanted to share the article.
Not really - given that few people will use single fares.
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Old July 7th, 2009, 04:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Svartmetall View Post
Not really - given that few people will use single fares.
It doesn't matter who uses single fares or not, and that's not what the article is about. All systems have single fares, and is the easiest way to compare among different systems. One ticket, one way, that's the comparison. I'm sure they could have done monthly passes, but some systems may not have them. They could have done weekly passes, but some systems may not have them. They could have done weekend passes, but some may not have them. How about senior passes? School passes? Military? Like I said, the single ticket, one way, is the standard ticket and easiest for comparison.
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Old September 20th, 2009, 04:09 AM   #16
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UBS has published a PDF document with prices and earnings in cities around the world. On page 20, it has public transportation fares.

For the 50 metro cities among those cities, the same data are also in the World Metro Database at metrobits.org.

The fares are single fares for 10 km or 6 miles or at least 10 stops.

1 Stockholm 4.88 US$
2 Sydney 3.82 US$
3 Copenhagen 3.68 US$
4 London 3.60 US$
5 Oslo 3.50 US$
6 Frankfurt 3.01 US$
7 Munich 3.01 US$
8 Helsinki 2.75 US$
9 Amsterdam 2.73 US$
10 Los Angeles 2.50 US$
11 Vienna 2.22 US$
12 Montreal 2.18 US$
13 Toronto 2.18 US$
14 Miami 2.17 US$
15 Lyon 2.09 US$
16 Chicago 2.07 US$
17 Paris 2.05 US$
18 Tokyo 2.05 US$
19 New York 2.00 US$
20 Brussels 2.00 US$
21 Barcelona 1.77 US$
22 Rome 1.31 US$
23 Athens 1.31 US$
24 Madrid 1.31 US$
25 Milan 1.31 US$
26 Singapore 1.27 US$
27 Budapest 1.25 US$
28 Rio de Janeiro 1.01 US$
29 Sao Paulo 0.99 US$
30 Prague 0.85 US$
31 Bangkok 0.84 US$
32 Istanbul 0.82 US$
33 Taipei 0.78 US$
34 Santiago 0.72 US$
35 Seoul 0.71 US$
36 Moscow 0.65 US$
37 Warsaw 0.61 US$
38 Bucharest 0.53 US$
39 Kuala Lumpur 0.48 US$
40 Shanghai 0.44 US$
41 Caracas 0.40 US$
42 Lima 0.38 US$
43 Kiev 0.35 US$
44 Buenos Aires 0.31 US$
45 Manila 0.24 US$
46 Mumbai 0.22 US$
47 Beijing 0.20 US$
48 Cairo 0.18 US$
49 Mexico City 0.18 US$
50 Delhi 0.16 US$
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Old September 20th, 2009, 11:29 AM   #17
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To the OP the fares in that table are single cash fares. In most cities regular uses don't pay single cash fares, many will have weekly tickets, or use things like Oyster (in London) so hit is hard to really gain any meaningful comparison in prices. With Oyster the cash fare of a single zone 1 trip drops from 4 to 1.5GBP.

Oh by the way use of subways in London is actually free. Use of the underground rail network, a different matter altogether.
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Old September 20th, 2009, 02:19 PM   #18
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Quote:
To the OP the fares in that table are single cash fares. In most cities regular uses don't pay single cash fares
Yes, I know...that's not the point of this article though.
Quote:
Oh by the way use of subways in London is actually free. Use of the underground rail network, a different matter altogether.
huh?
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Old September 20th, 2009, 02:37 PM   #19
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A subway in the UK is an underground passage for pedestrians, not and underground railway.

Underground railways are obviously called the tube in london, or metro.
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Old September 20th, 2009, 02:55 PM   #20
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Here in Belo Horizonte it costs 0.99US$, cheaper than bus single fare 1.27US$.
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