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Competition in transit markets

  • Preston, John
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    Despite regulatory reforms in a number of countries, competition in transit markets is still relatively rare. Moreover, where it does occur it tends to be small group in nature and the outcomes are difficult to predict. In this paper, simulation models of competition in inter-urban rail markets and urban bus markets are developed and applied in studies of Great Britain and Sweden. It is found that on busy routes head-on competition is commercially feasible (although for rail this assumes low access charges) but is not socially desirable. For routes with thin demand (or high access costs), competition may be limited to cream skimming. In most competed cases, there appears to be a tendency for the provision of too much service, at too high price and (at least for bus) at too low quality. Rather than classical Bertrand-Cournot oligopoly models, transit markets may be best described by models of oligopolistic competition based on horizontal product differentiation.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research in Transportation Economics.

    Volume (Year): 23 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 75-84

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:retrec:v:23:y:2008:i:1:p:75-84
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    1. Salop, Steven C, 1979. "Strategic Entry Deterrence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 335-38, May.
    2. Novshek, William, 1980. "Equilibrium in simple spatial (or differentiated product) models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 313-326, April.
    3. Wichiensin, Muanmas & Bell, Michael G.H. & Yang, Hai, 2007. "Impact of congestion charging on the transit market: An inter-modal equilibrium model," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 41(7), pages 703-713, August.
    4. Zubieta, Lourdes, 1998. "A network equilibrium model for oligopolistic competition in city bus services," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 413-422, August.
    5. Zhou, Jing & Lam, William H.K. & Heydecker, Benjamin G., 2005. "The generalized Nash equilibrium model for oligopolistic transit market with elastic demand," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 519-544, July.
    6. Spiess, Heinz & Florian, Michael, 1989. "Optimal strategies: A new assignment model for transit networks," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 83-102, April.
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