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Making public transport financially sustainable

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  • Buehler, Ralph
  • Pucher, John
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    Abstract

    Over the past two decades, Germany has improved the quality of its public transport services and attracted more passengers while increasing productivity, reducing costs, and cutting subsidies. Public transport systems reduced their costs through organizational restructuring and outsourcing to newly founded subsidiaries; cutting employee benefits and freezing salaries; increasing work hours, using part-time employees, expanding job tasks, and encouraging retirement of older employees; cooperation with other agencies to share employees, vehicles, and facilities; cutting underutilized routes and services; and buying new vehicles with lower maintenance costs and greater passenger capacity per driver. Revenues were increased through fare hikes for single tickets while maintaining deep discounts for monthly, semester, and annual tickets; and raising passenger volumes by improved quality of service, and full regional coordination of timetables, fares, and services. Those efforts by public transport agencies were enhanced by the increasing costs and restrictions on car use in German cities. Although the financial performance of German public transport has greatly improved, there are concerns of inequitable burdens on labor, since many of the cost reduction measures involved reducing wages or benefits of workers.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Transport Policy.

    Volume (Year): 18 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 126-138

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:18:y:2011:i:1:p:126-138

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    Related research

    Keywords: Public transport Germany Sustainability Efficiency Productivity Finance;

    References

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    1. Kim, Songju & Wachs, Martin, 2006. "Transit and Contracts: What's Best for Drivers?," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt1j02n0d2, University of California Transportation Center.
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    Cited by:
    1. Bastani, Parisa & Heywood, John B. & Hope, Chris, 2012. "The effect of uncertainty on US transport-related GHG emissions and fuel consumption out to 2050," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 517-548.
    2. Drevs, Florian & Tscheulin, Dieter K. & Lindenmeier, Jörg & Renner, Simone, 2014. "Crowding-in or crowding out: An empirical analysis on the effect of subsidies on individual willingness-to-pay for public transportation," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 250-261.
    3. Tscharaktschiew, Stefan & Hirte, Georg, 2012. "Should subsidies to urban passenger transport be increased? A spatial CGE analysis for a German metropolitan area," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 285-309.
    4. Willoughby, Christopher, 2013. "How much can public private partnership really do for urban transport in developing countries?," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 34-55.
    5. Andrea ZATTI, 2011. "New organizational models in European Local Public Transport: from Myth to Reality," CIRIEC Working Papers, CIRIEC - Université de Liège 1106, CIRIEC - Université de Liège.

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