Not too many people work in the week between Christmas and New Year, so many cities drop their public transport service frequency. In a particularly extreme example, Sydney’s CityRail is running on a Saturday timetable all week, but it isn’t dropping its fares to match. Is that reasonable?
Picture by Zackary1360
Blogger Evan Smith argues the no case, pointing out that it hardly seems fare to charge a premium for a peak-hour service that doesn’t offer peak-hour performance. On a normal Saturday, fares are cheaper, so why not stick with that approach?
CityRail’s official counter-argument is that to offer discounted fares (which are roughly half the price for a return journey) on weekdays would disadvantage people who have paid for long-term tickets, and that fares don’t cover the full cost of the service anyway. It doesn’t mention another important aspect of the debate: higher peak-hour fares help spread users across the day, by discouraging people wanting cheaper fares from boarding during the busiest times.
Do you think a discount is in order, or is charging the same fare even with a reduced service reasonable at this time of year? Share your thoughts in the comments.