Should Urban Transit Subsidies Be Reduced?
This paper derives intuitive and empirically useful formulas for the optimal pricing of passenger transit and for the welfare effects of adjusting current fare subsidies, for peak and off-peak urban rail and bus systems. The formulas are implemented based on a detailed estimation of parameter values for the metropolitan areas of Washington (D.C.), Los Angeles, and London. Our analysis accounts for congestion, pollution, and accident externalities from automobiles and from transit vehicles; scale economies in transit supply; costs of accessing and waiting for transit service as well as service crowding costs; and agency adjustment of transit frequency, vehicle size, and route network to induced changes in demand for passenger miles. The results support the efficiency case for the large fare subsidies currently applied across mode, period, and city. In almost all cases, fare subsidies of 50 percent or more of operating costs are welfare improving at the margin, and this finding is robust to alternative assumptions and parameters.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Proost, Stef & Dender, Kurt Van, 2008. "Optimal urban transport pricing in the presence of congestion, economies of density and costly public funds," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 42(9), pages 1220-1230, November.
- Gunnar Lindberg, 2001. "Traffic Insurance and Accident Externality Charges," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 35(3), pages 399-416, September.
- Ian W. H. Parry & Kenneth A. Small, 2005.
"Does Britain or the United States Have the Right Gasoline Tax?,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1276-1289, September.
- Parry, Ian & Small, Kenneth, 2002. "Does Britain or the United States Have the Right Gasoline Tax?," Discussion Papers dp-02-12-, Resources For the Future.
- Glaister, Stephen, 1974. "Generalised Consumer Surplus and Public Transport Pricing," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 84(336), pages 849-67, December.
- Mohring, Herbert, 1972. "Optimization and Scale Economies in Urban Bus Transportation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 591-604, September.
- Small, Kenneth A. & Gomez-Ibanez, Jose A., 1999.
Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics,
in: P. C. Cheshire & E. S. Mills (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 46, pages 1937-1999
- Dodgson, J S, 1986. "Benefits of Changes in Urban Public Transport Subsidies in the Major Australian Cities," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 62(177), pages 224-35, June.
- Winston, Clifford & Maheshri, Vikram, 2007. "On the social desirability of urban rail transit systems," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 362-382, September.
- Nelson, Peter & Baglino, Andrew & Harrington, Winston & Safirova, Elena & Lipman, Abram, 2007.
"Transit in Washington, DC: Current benefits and optimal level of provision,"
Journal of Urban Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 231-251, September.
- Nelson, Peter & Bagliano, Andrew & Harrington, Winston & Safirova, Elena & Lipman, Abram, 2006. "Transit in Washington, D.C.: Current Benefits and Optimal Level of Provision," Discussion Papers dp-06-21, Resources For the Future.
- Glaister, Stephen & Lewis, Davis, 1978. "An integrated fares policy for transport in London," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 341-355, June.
- Arnott, Richard & de Palma, Andre & Lindsey, Robin, 1993. "A Structural Model of Peak-Period Congestion: A Traffic Bottleneck with Elastic Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 161-179, March.
- Kraus, Marvin, 1991. "Discomfort externalities and marginal cost transit fares," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 249-259, March.
This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
- Should Urban Transit Subsidies Be Reduced? (AER 2009) in ReplicationWiki
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-07-38. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Webmaster)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.