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Equilibrium properties of taxi markets with search frictions

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  • Yang, Hai
  • Yang, Teng

Abstract

The equilibrium properties of an aggregate taxi market are investigated using a general bilateral searching and meeting function which characterizes the search frictions between vacant taxis and unserved customers. Three specific issues are analyzed for meeting functions that exhibit increasing, constant and decreasing returns to scale. Firstly, service quality in terms of customer wait/search time and average profit per taxi are examined jointly in relation to taxi fleet size, and a Pareto-improving win-win situation is identified, where an increase in taxi fleet size leads to improvements in both service quality and market profitability. Such a Pareto-improving situation is found to emerge if and only if the meeting functions show increasing returns to scale. Secondly, the properties of the socially optimal solution are examined. It is found that the taxi fleet size should be chosen such that the total cost of operating vacant taxis equals the total cost of customer waiting time multiplied by an asymmetric factor of the meeting function, and that taxi services should be subsidized at social optimum only when the meeting functions show increasing returns to scale. Thirdly, the Pareto-efficient services are examined for trade-offs between social welfare and profits in the light of partially conflicting objectives of the public sector and the private taxi firms using a bi-objective maximization approach. The taxi utilization rate and the customer wait/search time or service quality are proved to be constant along the Pareto frontier and equal to those at social optimum if the meeting functions show constant returns to scale. Extensions are made to the cases with increasing and decreasing returns to scale.

Suggested Citation

  • Yang, Hai & Yang, Teng, 2011. "Equilibrium properties of taxi markets with search frictions," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 696-713, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transb:v:45:y:2011:i:4:p:696-713
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Shi, Ying & Lian, Zhaotong, 2016. "Optimization and strategic behavior in a passenger–taxi service system," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 249(3), pages 1024-1032.
    2. Wong, R.C.P. & Szeto, W.Y. & Wong, S.C., 2014. "Bi-level decisions of vacant taxi drivers traveling towards taxi stands in customer-search: Modeling methodology and policy implications," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 73-81.
    3. repec:eee:transa:v:102:y:2017:i:c:p:33-50 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Wang, Xiaolei & He, Fang & Yang, Hai & Oliver Gao, H., 2016. "Pricing strategies for a taxi-hailing platform," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 212-231.
    5. repec:eee:transb:v:105:y:2017:i:c:p:559-578 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Tan, Zhijia & Yang, Hai, 2012. "Flexible build-operate-transfer contracts for road franchising under demand uncertainty," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 46(10), pages 1419-1439.
    7. Egan, Malcolm & Jakob, Michal, 2016. "Market mechanism design for profitable on-demand transport services," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 178-195.
    8. Sathaye, Nakul, 2014. "The optimal design and cost implications of electric vehicle taxi systems," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 264-283.

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