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  1. 28 Jan '16 00:16 / 1 edit
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-3419238/Teenager-saves-7-72-train-journey-Sheffield-Essex-taking-PLANE-Berlin.html

    Jordan Cox was upset by the cost of a train ticket from Sheffield to his home in Shenfield,
    Essex, England. He discovered that it was cheaper to go home by flying via Berlin!
  2. Standard member bill718
    Enigma
    28 Jan '16 09:44
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-3419238/Teenager-saves-7-72-train-journey-Sheffield-Essex-taking-PLANE-Berlin.html

    Jordan Cox was upset by the cost of a train ticket from Sheffield to his home in Shenfield,
    Essex, England. He discovered that it was cheaper to go home by flying via Berlin!
    That sounds like how Congress operates here in the good old USA.
  3. 28 Jan '16 12:49
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-3419238/Teenager-saves-7-72-train-journey-Sheffield-Essex-taking-PLANE-Berlin.html

    Jordan Cox was upset by the cost of a train ticket from Sheffield to his home in Shenfield,
    Essex, England. He discovered that it was cheaper to go home by flying via Berlin!
    The thing about mass transport is vehicles often have empty seats. The vehicle must move, empty seats or not and there is a marginal cost to filling those seats.
    So, for example if a train runs with an empty car or with the car full, it makes very little difference to the cost of running the train. Similarly an aeroplane half full or full costs about the same to fly.

    So, if your train or plane is half full, and you are not going to sell any more tickets at the full price, what do you do?

    If you are a train, there is a pretty good chance that dropping the prices for the empty seats will loose you business as most of your passengers really have no reasonable alternatives and will be taking a train anyway so anyone who grabs the cheap tickets were probably going to take a different train and just move the time to take advantage of the cheaper tickets.

    This doesn't apply to aircraft as a significant number of people choose not to fly if the prices are too high and many of the cheap ticket passengers are customers you would not have had anyway and having them is better than empty seats.

    Jordan Cox is an excellent example of this. He filled an empty seat that would have been empty if not for him so the airline made an extra £44 it would not have had otherwise. If the ticket prices had been higher he would not have taken a different flight, he simply would not have flown, so the lower price ticket did not loose the airline any money. From the railways point of view however, apart from this rare exception, Jordan Cox had no choice but to use the train and any other option would have cost more, so offering him a cheaper ticket would have lost them money.

    For other price craziness caused by the free market look into the price of medication. The most famous example being this one:
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-24/drugmaker-turing-suggests-it-won-t-cut-list-price-of-daraprim
    where a drug company raised the price of life saving medication by 5000% for no other reason than to gouge money off buyers because they had a monopoly. It is not an isolated incident, but rather general practice in the drug industry although this was an extreme example, there are many other cases of drug prices rising over 1000% for no other reason than the can get away with it in a monopoly situation.
  4. 28 Jan '16 13:29 / 3 edits
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    The thing about mass transport is vehicles often have empty seats. The vehicle must move, empty seats or not and there is a marginal cost to filling those seats.
    So, for example if a train runs with an empty car or with the car full, it makes very little difference to the cost of running the train. Similarly an aeroplane half full or full costs about the ...[text shortened]... other option would have cost more, so offering him a cheaper ticket would have lost them money.
    I don't think your claim about the different motives for travelling by air and train are necessarily true.

    a) On many domestic routes (e.g., London-Edinburgh; Frankfurt-Berlin), flights and trains are often in direct competition for the same customers, as well on shorter international routes (e.g. London-Paris, or Copenhagen-Stockholm). Jordan Cox arguably had the option of a domestic flight as planes fly from Heathrow to Leeds Bradford, though admittedly, Heathrow is a long way from Essex.

    b) Jordan Cox's options were not limited to plane or train; he could have chosen to take a bus, which would have been substantially cheaper than the train; by dropping their prices, the rail companies could recover some of the passengers travelling by bus. He also (assuming he knows how to drive) had the option of driving a car, so a competitive train company needs to take into account the price of petrol in determining ticket prices.

    c) In Britain, the cheap seats for planes and trains are usually made available months in advance; it's the seats sold near departure that are expensive. So it's not the case that they companies are selling off unbooked seats cheaply at the last minute. Last minute seats are usually very expensive, because the companies rightly assume that someone who needs to travel immediately probably has an urgent, non-negotiable reason to do so.

    d) The issue is not merely one of prices set by a free market; there's also a quirk in regulation. Aviation fuel is untaxed; this explains how flights can end up being extremely cheap compared to land transport, where the fuel is taxed.
  5. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    28 Jan '16 16:01
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    I don't think your claim about the different motives for travelling by air and train are necessarily true.

    a) On many domestic routes (e.g., London-Edinburgh; Frankfurt-Berlin), flights and trains are often in direct competition for the same customers, as well on shorter international routes (e.g. London-Paris, or Copenhagen-Stockholm). Jordan Cox argua ...[text shortened]... ow flights can end up being extremely cheap compared to land transport, where the fuel is taxed.
    I'd add that in aviation itself , this sort of seemingly illogical fare results is commonplace. It's much cheaper to fly from White Plains to Orlando through Cincinnati on Delta than to fly from White Plains to Cincinnati on Delta, sometimes by a factor of 3 or 4. Airlines constantly have to battle hidden city ticketing to preserve this system.

    Transportation pricing in general is probably too complex for any one person to really understand or explain (for example, why would anyone take a yellow cab when Uber costs 40% less and you don't even have to flag it down or tip the driver?), but in general, I'm happy to leave it to the free market on the knowledge that, if I'm willing to put in the time and effort to do my research, I can generally find an efficient and cheap way to get where I need to go.
  6. 28 Jan '16 16:07
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    I don't think your claim about the different motives for travelling by air and train are necessarily true.
    Yes, there are probably many factors involved.

    Its interesting that you say the bus is cheaper, I wonder why that is.
  7. 28 Jan '16 16:14
    Originally posted by sh76
    but in general, I'm happy to leave it to the free market on the knowledge that, if I'm willing to put in the time and effort to do my research, I can generally find an efficient and cheap way to get where I need to go.
    'efficient' and 'cheap' are relative terms and in this case meaningless. Given that transport costs vary quite dramatically from country to country your statement is either untrue, or what you really mean is 'there will always be an option that minimises the cost or maximizes the efficiency'. Why you seem to think they will coincide is beyond me. The OP is all about a case where the cheaper option was far from being the most efficient.
    What interests me is how the boy got to and from the airports. Did he just happen to have an airport near both ends of his journey?
  8. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    28 Jan '16 17:43
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Yes, there are probably many factors involved.

    Its interesting that you say the bus is cheaper, I wonder why that is.
    Lower fuel costs, lower vehicle costs, longer travel time, cheaper to pay the driver
  9. 28 Jan '16 20:55
    Originally posted by twhitehead to Sh76
    'efficient' and 'cheap' are relative terms and in this case meaningless. Given that transport costs vary quite dramatically from country to country your statement is either untrue, or what you really mean is 'there will always be an option that minimises the cost or maximizes the efficiency'. Why you seem to think they will coincide is beyond me. ...[text shortened]... t to and from the airports. Did he just happen to have an airport near both ends of his journey?
    "What interests me is how the boy (Jordan Cox) got to and from the airports."
    --Twhitehead

    The article has a detailed list of Jordan Cox's expenses. He used a train and buses
    (total cost 16.20 GBP) to travel to and from airports in the UK. He took a train (cost 5.00 GBP)
    from Berlin's airport to its city centre and back. His air flights cost only 21.37 GBP.
  10. 28 Jan '16 22:21 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    "What interests me is how the boy (Jordan Cox) got to and from the airports."
    --Twhitehead

    The article has a detailed list of Jordan Cox's expenses. He used a train and buses
    (total cost 16.20 GBP) to travel to and from airports in the UK. He took a train (cost 5.00 GBP)
    from Berlin's airport to its city centre and back. His air flights cost only 21.37 GBP.
    He was lucky to be heading to Essex, very close to Stansted Airport which is London's main airport for budget flights. Berlin's two airports are both unusually close to the city, and within the urban public transport zoning system.
  11. 28 Jan '16 22:23
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    The thing about mass transport is vehicles often have empty seats. The vehicle must move, empty seats or not and there is a marginal cost to filling those seats.
    So, for example if a train runs with an empty car or with the car full, it makes very little difference to the cost of running the train. Similarly an aeroplane half full or full costs about the ...[text shortened]... ces rising over 1000% for no other reason than the can get away with it in a monopoly situation.
    Have you considered that almost all mass transit is heavily subsidized? That includes rail, bus, air, even local transit. What is the "REAL" cost of a ticket? Would you pay it, or choose to walk, or drive?
  12. 28 Jan '16 22:27
    Originally posted by normbenign
    Have you considered that almost all mass transit is heavily subsidized? That includes rail, bus, air, even local transit. What is the "REAL" cost of a ticket? Would you pay it, or choose to walk, or drive?
    Can anything survive without the federal government anymore?
  13. 29 Jan '16 09:27
    Originally posted by normbenign
    Have you considered that almost all mass transit is heavily subsidized? That includes rail, bus, air, even local transit. What is the "REAL" cost of a ticket? Would you pay it, or choose to walk, or drive?
    You probably wouldn't choose to walk from Yorkshire to Essex.

    Driving is also subsidised, as governments build roads. It doesn't therefore seem unreasonable to subsidise public transport, when it is much more environmentally friendly than the alternative of everyone driving his or her own car.

    Who knows what the "real" cost of a ticket is? Who cares?
  14. 29 Jan '16 10:46
    Originally posted by normbenign
    Have you considered that almost all mass transit is heavily subsidized? That includes rail, bus, air, even local transit. What is the "REAL" cost of a ticket? Would you pay it, or choose to walk, or drive?
    I think it was a bit too far to walk. I don't know what subsidies go into the various industries, but I suspect cars are no exception. I know the fossil fuel industry is heavily subsidised.