How much must fares increase before you stop travelling by train?

Discussion in 'Fares Advice & Policy' started by class387, 5 Dec 2018.

Which of these increases would be acceptable?

  1. <1%

    2 vote(s)
    7.7%
  2. <3%

    5 vote(s)
    19.2%
  3. <5%

    3 vote(s)
    11.5%
  4. <10%

    6 vote(s)
    23.1%
  5. <20%

    3 vote(s)
    11.5%
  6. >20%

    7 vote(s)
    26.9%
  1. class387

    class387 Established Member

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    Researching for an economics project.

    What would be the maximum fare increase you would tolerate? Assume the increase is from the current price and you are travelling regularly.
     
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  3. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    It's not that simple, as the ticketing system is more complex. Substantial increases to walk-up fares may for instance drive me to Advances for some journeys and the car for others, or to changing times of travel.
     
  4. class387

    class387 Established Member

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    I know but my teacher wants some sort of statistics and this seems to be the best way of getting them.
     
  5. ForTheLoveOf

    ForTheLoveOf Established Member

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    There's no way at all a general answer can be given.

    Certain fares are set at very competitive levels. An increase of 5 or even 10% would still make them attractive. Other fares are in close competition with other modes of transport, and there even a very small increase would make them unattractive. And then there are those fares which are so high that they aren't in competition with anything in the first place (e.g. many long-distance Anytime fares), so it hardly matters how much the increase is.

    So, at the end of the day, there's a relatively small range of fares where the level of increase makes a substantial difference.
     
  6. Dhassell

    Dhassell Member

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    Hmm... For me it would vary depending on route and what I class as 'Value for money'. As an example, say I was paying £4.90 for a fare now, I would be annoyed when it crosses into the £5 bracket, but probably would still buy it, I wouldn't want to (and wouldn't) pay it if it went into the £6 bracket.
     
  7. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    Your teacher needs to rethink things then.
    For the simplest answer to your question which will not be that helpful you’ll likely find that this isn’t the best place to ask (as much as we would like to help). Asking a bunch of commuters would get you a set of results, asking a bunch of leisure travellers would get you another. Of course both of those groups exist here but the way your data is collected might not be the most accurate way to distinguish these differences.
     
  8. robbeech

    robbeech Established Member

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    But what about in 10 years time? When it got to £5.90 and went to £6.10 would just stop using it?
    All these things have to be relative surely?
     
  9. Dhassell

    Dhassell Member

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    It would depend on the circumstances... In 10 years time, the minimum wage might be higher and circumstances will be different for everyone. But at the current point in time, the max I would want to pay for a fare that is currently £4.90 is £6.
     
  10. greyman42

    greyman42 On Moderation

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    Over what period of time was the OP referring to?
     
  11. 37047

    37047 Member

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    23 May 2018
    Hard to say as I need to get to the office every day and have no realistic alternative to a rail commute (45 miles each way, no bus, don't drive). I guess the point at which travel costs outweigh the pay cut I'd end up taking by changing jobs to work closer to home.
     
  12. Silverdale

    Silverdale Member

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    If it's statistics your economics teacher wants, rather than asking random people on a discussion forum what they would do if fares increased, you might look for academic studies of the subject. Try searching for 'price elasticity of demand of rail travel' or 'rail fares elasticity', or similar.
     
  13. class387

    class387 Established Member

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    The task is to ask random people and then to calculate the elasticity using the data gathered. :)
     
  14. Silverdale

    Silverdale Member

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    Oh, I see.

    I've added my vote.
     
  15. Deerfold

    Deerfold Established Member

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    Does this mean stop travelling by train at all, or just sometimes? My choices are affected, not just by how much rail is charging, but what other options are available.

    I went to York on Monday and will be going again today. On Monday I went by bus paying much less. Today I'll be in more of a hurry so I'm going by train. I weigh the respective prices against the difference in time taken and when journey opportunities are available. Price rises on trains would tip the balance for each individual journey away from the train, but there's no one figure would change it in each situation.

    I think your teacher is trying to over-simplify a very complicated decision and is not likely to get useful data.
     
  16. Meole

    Meole Member

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    If your ticket is being paid for by an employer any increase is unlikely to be a concern.
     
  17. Qwerty133

    Qwerty133 Established Member

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    Presumably this is for A level economics which uses a simplified version of price elasticity of demand (the responsiveness of demand to a change in price)that ignores that elasticity changes with price along a linear (straight) demand curve. In which case the accuracy of any figures isn't really relevant as long as they are calculated as the process is simplified to be almost meaningless in any case.
    I really don't think that academic studies on the price elasticity of demand would make the slightest sense to the average A level student. Academic Economics focusses a lot more on mathematical derivations and algebraic proofs as well as detailed regressions in order to calculate elasticity whereas A level only lightly touches on mathematical concepts and focusses on giving a broad overview of neo-classical economic theory.
    Data doesn't always have to be accurate to be useful in an educational setting. As long as there is data it is possible to calculate a value so if the task is simply to aid the understanding of how an elasticity is calculated inaccurate data will still give a value (although that value would be inaccurate). Weirdly enough the vast majority of schools could not afford access to a dataset that would give the complete picture if such data even exists which I very much doubt, especially as it is normally considered that accurate data should be revealed preference rather than stated preference which is all that a survey could provide. This means that the ideal data set would have to contain observations of the same individual facing multiple different costs for the same journey with all other factors (such as the price of alternatives and purpose of the journey) remaining the same.
     
    Last edited: 6 Dec 2018
  18. kristiang85

    kristiang85 Member

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    For me I have a mental barrier of £500 a month.

    I'm approaching that now, so I'm changing habits - e.g. buying odd period season tickets rather than full annual tickets (SWR's reduction in perks for annual seasons makes that a lot easier, and increased delay repay too).

    If fare continue rising at the current rate, I'm sure in 3-4 years I'll start being a lot more flexible with my working and only going in 2-3 days a week, or only at non-peak times.
     
  19. al78

    al78 Member

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    This is going to depend on whether using the train is by choice (e.g. leisure journeys), or compulsion due to commuting to work, and changing jobs/home is too difficult to be practical. The former will tolerate a modest increase before they start driving (if driving is practical), the latter are compelled to pay the increase or face unemployment or possibly an inferior job which doesn't require rail to get too. I would think you would have to note the nature of the journeys, and stratify into categories such as commuting and leisure.
     
  20. Jona26

    Jona26 Member

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    Your poll doesn't have an option for passengers that will not or cannot give up travelling by train (for various reasons).

    For example, I cannot obtain a driving licence on medical grounds and so I don't have other practicable options for many if my journeys.
     

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