Train economics

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    I had a bus service running between two adjacent cities with 500 to 600 population each. One stop per city only. Busses going from and to, resulting in a 90 second frequency. Most of the busses were full picking up the maximum 15 passengers. The line made about 1.6 M per year in profit! In parallel, many folks used the car travelling between those two cities. And as written above, it was just one stop per city, exactly in the town center. There was absolutely no additional service in the whole city, so the passengers had to walk from and to the bus station.

    Then as money didn’t matter because of having several such bus lines, adding like 40 M per year to my piggy bank, I cancelled the bus service between those two cites. Removed a couple of buildings to build train stations in both cities, basically next to the town center. On top, I established bus services going directly from every corner of those cities to the train stations, about 60 seconds frequency on every line. No ringlines wasting time, no, direct lines coming from every part of the town.

    The train service went directly between both down, no stop. Frequency was 60 seconds, so even less waiting time than before with the bus service between the two town centers. On top, as you might recall from the last paragraph, the passengers didn’t have to walk from the station, but could use the bus service instead. As an extra gimmick, I even bulldozered the road between those two cities to enforce the automobil riders to either take a long detour… or the train.

    Then I set the game on fast forward for a couple of years to see what will happen. One would expect that the earnings should be much higher than the original 1.6 M per year from the bus service. As track buildung is expensive, a train stations cost money, as train have far higher running costs than busses.

    Well, no. The revenue from the train service during the next 6 years was 1.8 M in the best year ever. (That’s revenue only, you all know the costs of buying and running 4 trains, even the cheapest ones. Not earnings.)

    So I looked deeper into it. And it became obivous. While before 15 folks every 90 seconds were starting the bus ride after walking to the station, which means 10 per every 60 seconds, usually no more than like 5 or 6 guys took the trains per every 60 seconds. Despite they could now use the bus from their home or work place to the station.

    So what now???




    • This topic was modified 9 years, 7 months ago by higgins.

    So… your question is more about sim behaviour than economics, how the sims choose where they go and how? When do they choose a train and is it possible to force them by train by removing the road (or do they stop their job and get a job within the city or become jobless)?Is that correct?

    Do the numbers of the cities change? More jobless people, less people (you removed some buildings), new intercity road, etc. When you follow the persons traveling by train (and compare them to a person followed by bus), is there a hiccup along the way you missed? What are their travel times?

    • This reply was modified 9 years, 7 months ago by Nivve.

    No, to put it directly. My question is about common sense. The passengers face two different situations. Let’s call them “before” and “after”.

    “Before”. Walk from their origin to the bus station in town center A. Wait for the ~90 s frequency bus. Take a bus ride (80 km/h max.) to town B. Walk from the bus station in town center B to their destination. 15 passengers per every ~ 90 seconds took that option. Or in other words 10 per every 60 seconds. (10 per each direction that is, so 20 in total.)

    “After”. Walk from their origin to the nearest bus station. Wait for the ~60 s frequency bus. Take a bus ride to the train station. Take a train ride (120 km/h max.) to town B. Wait for the ~60 s frequency bus. Take a bus ride to the station nearest of their destination. Walk to their destination. Usually not more than 5 to 6 passengers per every ~60 seconds took that option. (Per direction, so 10 to 12 in total.) And as you might remember, as a special courtesy, no more using the automobile unless going on a long detour.

    Conclusion: I real life, passenger numbers would skyrocket. In this game, there must be some parameters that make walking by foot more attractive than transfering from one vehicle to another. Or mabye busses are more attractive than trains. Or passengers just care about the 20 minutes time frame but don’t care if takes them 8 minutes by train or 18 minutes by long car detour.

    • This reply was modified 9 years, 7 months ago by higgins.

    I beleive this can all be explained. I will post my thoughts:

    1) The new train line is more frequent that old bus line (1.5x), so it is not “4-5 pessengers compared to old 15”, but more like 6-8 compared to old 15 (that is pessengers transfered per same time interval). But still that is less than before.

    2) You added nice bus lines to your cities. This means that people from your city centre can now get to much more places than before! And their demand for job, leisure and shopping can probably  be satisfied within their own city, and much faster than going to another city. So they might switch and don’t need to go so far.

    My bet is that you just need to let your cities grow a little, and gradually your train line should become much more used. You adding all those lines will definitely help cities grow, as now one can get to a lot more work, leisure and shopping places from many houses. Though you removing the road might have a negative effect on growth, for the same reason.

    From my short experience, relatively small cities can be almost self-sufficient (people don’t need to go to other cities for their needs), but when you create more opportunities to go somewhere, cities start to grow and gradually people start taking those opportunities. You just have to wait.


    @ higgins
    I am not correct, but you do say you mean sim behaviour (how they choose to go somewhere) as I described… weird.
    Matrix has some nice points though to explain them. Can you make at least a screenshot to show your case?


    Have you let the new train line run for a good 4-5 years before comparing numbers?  Train lines take a long time to fill out, as the population needs to adapt to the new transport options, and it will take a while for the numbers to build up.  You can never compare directly soon after you build a new link… the simulation needs time to settle in to a new pattern.

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