Study on the Price Elasticity of Demand of Beijing Subway


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1 Journal of Traffic an Logistics Engineering, Vol, 1, No. 1 June 2013 Stuy on the Price Elasticity of Deman of Beijing Subway Yanan Miao an Liang Gao MOE Key Laboratory for Urban Transportation Complex Systems Theory an Technology, Beijing Jiaotong University, Beijing , China Abstract With the graually evelopment of Beijing Subway network, passenger volume grows fast an the government bear more an more subsiies. We focus on the price elasticity of travel eman of Beijing Subway, in orer to point out the relationship between them. We hope our stuy can provie the government important reference in esigning more efficient price scheme an ensure the sustainable evelopment of Beijing Subway. Inex Terms Beijing subway, price elasticity, travel eman I. INTRODUCTION With the rapi urbanization, roa network in Beijing is continuously improve in the past ecaes. But it cannot match the ramatically increase travel eman, an faces various kins of traffic problems, incluing accients, congestion, an air pollution etc., among which congestion is the most outstaning one. Learning from other cities, Beijing turns to urban rail transit to resolve its traffic problems. Beijing s urban rail transit system is compose of subway an light rail, which is generally calle as Beijing Subway. An it quickly became the backbone of public transit, since it takes avantages of safe, rapi, on time, large capacity an comfort. In orer to provie the resients a more effective an convenient traffic moe, an to relieve the stress of roa surface public transit (PT), Beijing continuously enforce the low fare policy an pay vast amount of subsiies to guarantee the normal operation of Beijing Subway. But with the surge in the traffic volume of Beijing Subway, especially after a ouble increase from 2004 to 2008 [1], the government will inevitably face an extremely large financial buren in (the) future, which will obviously influence the regular investment of Beijing s socialeconomy evelopment. To avoi the unsustainable of Beijing Subway, many scholars are trying to propose a more reasonable price scheme [2], [3]. Facing possible volatility in ticket price, travelers may ecie to moify their trip moes to reuce costs. To estimate how travelers respon to ticket price changes, we stuy the ticket price elasticity of the travel eman of Beijing Subway, an Manuscript receive November 25, 2012; revise January 14, provie theoretical evience to policy makers in eveloping more effective subway pricing schemes. Price elasticity, as a most important inicator for pricing, has been stuie in many fiels recent years. Galarraga et al. proposes a combine approach for estimating willingness to pay for the attributes represente by energy efficiency labels an proviing reliable price elasticity of eman (own an cross) for close substitutes [4]; Fan et al. estimate the price elasticity of electricity eman for South Australia attempts to etermine whether there is any variation in price sensitivity with the time of ay [5]; Schiff et al. estimate the eman elasticity of 16 ifferent international visitors for New Zealan tourism [6]; Ruhm et al. examine how estimates of the price elasticity of eman for beer vary with the choice of alcohol price series examine [7]. The literature review mentione above shows that the price elasticity of eman is wiely stuie an use in reality. Ownprice elasticity is a useful measure of how customers ajust to increase in the price by ajusting their consumption. This is especially useful when evaluating longterm ajustments to changes in prices. We will focus on the ownprice elasticity, since our major concern is how the changes in ticket price will affect the travel emans of Beijing Subway. In the rest of this paper, ownprice elasticity is call as price elasticity for short an loglinear econometric moel [5] is employe to estimate the price elasticity of travel eman for Beijing Subway. The paper is organize as follows. In Section II, we recall the efinition about the law of eman an the price elasticity, an briefly iscuss how to use price elasticity to increase revenue as well. Section III aresses the fast growth of the passenger volume of Beijing Subway an the backgroun behin it. Section IV makes an analysis of the change of price elasticity. Finally, we give some concluing remarks an topics for future research. II. THE LAW OF DEMAND AND PRICE ELASTICITY Accoring to economic theory, the quantity emane is the amount of any goo, service or resource that people are willing an able to buy uring a specifie perio at a specifie price [8]. Many things influence buying plans, an one of them is price. To stuy the relationship between quantity emane an price. We keep all other influences 2013 Engineering an Technology Publishing oi: /jtle
2 Journal of Traffic an Logistics Engineering, Vol, 1, No. 1 June 2013 on buying plans the same an ask how oes the quantity emane of a goo change as its price varies? The law of eman provies the answer. The law of eman states other things remaining the same, if the price of a goo rises, the quantity emane of that goo ecreases; an if the price of a goo falls, the quantity emane of that goo increase [9]. That s because, face with a limite buget, people always have an incentive to fin the best eals they can. If the price of an item falls an the prices of all other items remain the same, the item with the lower price is a better eal than it was before, so some people buy more of this item. A eman curve is a graph of the relationship between the quantity emane of a goo an its price when all the other influences on buying plans remain the same. As shown in Fig. 1, the ownwar slope of the eman curve illustrates the quantity emane of each price. Figure 1. The eman curve. Law of eman tells us that consumers will respon to a price rop by buying more, but it oes not tell us how much more. In fact, we nee to know more about a eman curve than the fact that it slopes ownwar. We want to know how responsive the quantity emane is to the price change. Elasticity provies the information. The price elasticity of eman is a measure of the responsive of the quantity emane of a goo to a change in its price when all other influence on buyers plans remains the same [10]. Then the price elasticity can be efine as: E Q%/ P%. (1) where, Q% means the percentage change in quantity emane, an P% means the percentage change in price. Because eman curves slope ownwars, the percentage change in price an the percentage change in quantity emane have opposite signs, an their ratio is negative. However, it is teious an sometimes confusing for price elasticity to be negative. The absolute value usually is taken an is reporte as a positive number in most situations. The price elasticity range varies, an there are mainly five cases: (a) The price elasticity of eman towars zero ( E 0 ), means that the quantity emane keep the same no matter how the price changes, calle perfectly inelastic; (b) The price elasticity of eman is less than one ( E 1), means that when the price goes up by a given percentage, the quantity emane falls by a smaller percentage, calle inelastic; (c) The price elasticity of eman equals to one ( E 1 ), that means the percentage increase in price exactly equals the percentage ecrease in quantity emane, calle unit elastic; () The price elasticity of eman is greater than one ( E 1), in this case, a small percentage change in price cause a big percentage change in quantity emane, so calle elastic; (e) The price elasticity of eman towars infinity E ), means even a little change in price will make ( big ifference in eman, calle perfectly elastic. In reality, price elasticity is generally of two types, inelastic an elastic, the other three are extreme assumptions. Now, accoring the efinition of price elasticity of eman, we can easily have a clear unerstaning of whether manufacturer gets more or less profit by increasing or ecreasing price. Accoring to the basic principles of microeconomics, the relationship between quantity emane an price is efine as: Q P. (2) where, is a constant, an the exponent refers to price elasticity. Then the revenue can be efine as: B PQ P +1. (3) For a given P, there is a unique Q correspon to it. Consiering that, when the price has a change of P, then the total revenue will change. The change of revenue can be obtaine by looking at the quantity = B p+ p / B p = p+ p / P = 1+ / P. thus, we can conclue that: (a) 1, 1 0 0, 1, means the total revenue increase; 0, 1, means the total revenue ecrease; (b) 1 0, 1 0 0, 1, means the total revenue ecrease; 0, 1, means the total revenue increase; The above iscussion shows that both the increase an ecrease of price will make the revenue of manufacturer changes as hope, it epens on the price elasticity. So it is preposterous to think small profits but quick turnover is right for everything an in all conitions. For a goo whose price elasticity is elastic, we can have more revenue by increasing its price. While, for a goo whose elasticity is inelastic, we shoul ecrease its price to make more profit. The stuy on the price elasticity of eman of Beijing subway has practical significance, which is useful for the ajustment of ticket price. (4) 26
3 Journal of Traffic an Logistics Engineering, Vol, 1, No. 1 June 2013 III. FAST TRAVEL DEMAND GROWTH OF BEIJING SUBWAY In this section, we provie some backgroun of the passenger volume evolution of Beijing subway since the implementation of the reform an open policy in The volume of Beijing subway is influence by a variety factors, we only make an investigation of population an economy, which are the funamental an important ones. The fast population growth is an important factor for the fast increase of subway passenger volume. Fig. 2 shows the emographic evolution of Beijing from 1978 to 2010 [11]. During these 33 years, the total population of Beijing has shows the tren of passengers carrie by public transportation, incluing bus an subway. It is clear that the total passenger volume of public transportation an bus represent a linear growth as time going, with slight fluctuation. While, in less than forty years, the passenger volume of subway has increase by a factor of sixty, from the original less than 30 million at 1978 to more than Figure 3. Gross omestic prouct (GDP) of Beijing ( ). Figure 2. Population evolution of Beijing ( ). increase from 8.71 million to million, which means total population has ouble. There are three perios of China s urbanization from 1960 until now, namely the rapi ecline stage ( ), the stable stage of ascension ( ) an rapi promotion stage ( ) [12]. So the population changes isplay an antiz curve, because of the economical evelopment policies affecte the growth of the population. The growth rate obviously becomes greater since 1996, inicates that the population increases ue to the fast economy evelopment. The rapi evelopment of economy also plays a major role in the growth of the subway passenger volume. China has enjoye three ecaes of rapi economics evelopment an social changes since the implementation of the reform an open policy in Following the Openoor policy, foreign loans an investment have poure into Beijing an other main cities following spectacular rates [13]. What s more, with the efforts of 15 years, China joine WTO successfully on 11 December 2001, becoming one of the 143 members. Thus, provie a greater opportunities for foreign investors to compete with omestic investors on a more equal basis an with overseas investors enjoying better protection than before through formal processes of juicial review an legal remey. Fig. 3 an Fig. 4 shows the GDP of Beijing from 1978 to 2010 an the average isposable income in Beijing [11]. We can see that the people's living stanar rises fast with the rapi evelopment of economy. The fast economic evelopment an the population growth inuce the fast increase of subway passenger volume. We investigate the fast growth of subway passenger volume by the following observations. Fig. 5 Figure 4. Disposable income in Beijing ( ). Figure 5. Passengers carrie by mass transit systems of Beijing. Figure 6. The split rate of public transportation million at 2010 [11]. However, the rate of growth is not constant over time, slow from 1978 to 1995, steay 27
4 Journal of Traffic an Logistics Engineering, Vol, 1, No. 1 June 2013 from 1996 to 2003, an fast from 2004 until now. The continuous growth of passenger volume inicates that the spilt rate of public transportation increases, as shown in Fig. 6[14] [15] [16]. Inee, the government, esigners an planners have spare no pains to improve the traffic conition in Beijing, an we witnesse big changes have taken place recent years. IV. ANALYSIS OF PRICE ELASTICITY OF BEIJING SUBWAY We emonstrate the average ticket price (ata in Fig. 7 are calculate at the price of 1990, ue to the constantly changing inflation rate) an passenger volume of Beijing Subway on the top of Fig. 7 [11], [17]  [19], the three insets in the bottom of Fig. 7 shows the relationship between passenger volume an average price, note that, both of the two quantity have been taken logarithmic. ⑴ first stage ( ): the relationship between ticket price an passenger volume obeys the law of eman an the price elasticity equals to , negative. We can say the preconition of the law of eman is satisfie, namely ceteris paribus. For : 1Only line 1 an line 2 were uner operation uring this perio, the total cost can be consiere to be the same[20]; 2 The permanent resient population in Beijing increases slowly these years, the passenger source seems stable. As a consequence, the ticket price an the passenger more, people put forwar higher request to travel quality because of the improvement of living stanar, so more an more people prefer to choose subway, which is characterize by rapi, on time, comfortable an safe. ⑶The thir stage( ): much like the secon stage, passenger volume is increasing constantly while ticket prices keep rising, the ifference lies in the growth rate of the thir stage is much higher. The abnormal phenomenon may be cause by the following factors: 1With new subway lines being continuously put into operation, as well as the scale of the line network increasing graually, the Beijing subway has entere into an era of network operations. As a consequence, inuce the new source of tourists an attracte passengers who use to other traffic moes because of the increase of accessibility an the evelopment of Realestate along the lines [20]; 2The permanent population of Beijing reache an unpreceente growth spee uring this perio, the total population increase from million at 2003 to million at 2008, the growth rate close to the value 17%[11]. As a result, the jumps of the population lea to significant increase of the passenger flow, 3It is well know that, the ticket price of Beijing subway is lower than any other city in china, which make a big ifference to the attraction of subway an more an more people choose subway to travel; 4 To give full a play of the role of pubic transportation an mitigate the serious traffic congestion situation, the government has put forwar many policies, which in turn lea a part of passengers turn to subway. The above factors work together an finally cause the relationship between ticket price an passenger volume ifferent from the general cases. Figure 7. The relationship curve between ticket price an passenger volume. volume changes coincie with the law of eman, that is to say, passenger volume tens to ecrease when ticket price increases an if ticket price reuces the passenger flow increases. ⑵secon stage( ): the relationship between ticket price an passenger volume eviate from the law of eman at some egree, that is to say passenger volume is increasing constantly while ticket prices keep rising, through the growth rate is low. That mainly because, with the evelopment of social economy an improvement in the lives of the people, people's life relate travel graually increase an become more iverse, such as shopping, leisure fitness, out repast, see octor, visit friens an families an so on. Fig. 8 illustrates the surveybase ata of ifferent trip purposes. There is no oubt that people s life relate travel experience a large growth. Besies, from the final report of travel surveys of Beijing 2000, the average trip was 2.77 per person per ay an only 1.61 per person per ay in 1986 [14]. What s Figure 8. Trip purposes base on CAUPD (China Acaemy of Urban Planning an Design). V. CONCLUSIONS In this paper, we focus on the change of the price elasticity change of Beijing subway, an make some analysis on it. There is no oubt that with the growing traffic congestion of Beijing, the only an best solution is to create a better an more attractive mass transit system. 28
5 Journal of Traffic an Logistics Engineering, Vol, 1, No. 1 June 2013 Urban subway, which is characterize by greater capacity, higher spee, more on time, less environment pollution an so on, is not only an important means to improve urban traffic congestion, but also act as the backbone of the urban public transportation. In orer to improve the importance of subway in urban public transportation, our stuy on the price elasticity of Beijing subway has practical meanings. It shoul be pointe out that the factors that influence the price elasticity of Beijing Subway are various, an the internal relations among them are complex. Our stuy also has much to o. Our future stuy aims to establish a moel that can preict the price elasticity of Beijing subway; after this work have been one, we want to work out a practical price scheme for Beijing subway. ACKNOWLEDGMENT This work was supporte in part by National Basic Research Program of China (Grant No. 2012CB725400), National Natural Science Founation of China (Grant Nos an ) an Funamental Research Funs for the Central Universities (Grant No. 2012JBM067). REFERENCES [1] Beijing Metro. [Online]. Available: [2] C. Wang an W. Y. Xu, The comparison an analysis on public transport fare between beijing an international metropolises, Journal of Taiyuan University of Technology (Social Science Eition), vol. 28, no. 3, pp , [3] S. Cai an Y. K. Jiang, Inquiring into a ticketing price scheme of beijing metro, Journal of Transportation Systems Engineering an Information Technology, vol. 2, no 3, pp , [4] I. Galarraga, M. G. Eguino, an A. Markanya, Willingness to pay an price elasticities of eman for energyefficient appliances: Combining the heonic approach an eman systems, Energy Economics, vol. 33, pp. S66S74, [5] S. Fan an R. J. Hynman, The price elasticity of electricity eman in South Australia, Energy Policy, vol. 39, pp , [6] A. Schiff an S. Becken, Deman elasticity estimates for New Zealan tourism, Tourism Management, vol. 32, pp , [7] C. J. Ruhma, A. S. Jones, K. A. McGeary, W. C. Kerr, J. V. Terz, T. K. Greenfiel, an R. S. Panian, What U.S. ata shoul be use to measure the price elasticity of eman for alcohol? Journal of Health Economics, vol. 31, pp , [8] W. Morgan, M. Katz, an H. Rosen, Microeconomics, Dongbei University of Finance & Economics Press, Liaoning, [9] R. Bae an M. Parkin, Founations of Microeconomics, 2n e, Beijing: China Renmin University Press, [10] R. Bae an M. Parkin, Founations of Microeconomics; 4th e., Beijing: China Renmin University Press, [11] Beijing Municipal Bureau of Statistics, Beijing Statistical Yearbook [12] M. X. Chen, W.. Liu, an X. L. Tao, Evolution an assessment on China s urbanization : Unerurbanization or overurbanization? Habitat International, vol. 38, pp , [13] M. Xu, A. Ceer, Z. Y. Gao, an W. Guan, Mass transit systems of Beijing: Governance evolution an analysis, Transportation, vol. 37, pp , [14] Brief Report of the Thir Comprehensive Traffic Survey Beijing. (2007). [Online]. Available: 6.html [15] Y. Z. Yang, K. Qi, L. Qian, Q. Xu, an L. L. Yang, Public transport subsiies base on passenger volume, Journal of Transportation Systems Engineering an Information Technology, vol. 10, no. 3, pp , [16] Year Book of China of Transportation an Communications. Year Book House of China of Transportation an Communications ( ). [17] J. Zhao an F. J. Li, On the fare system of umt in chinese big cities, Urban Mass Transit, no. 6, pp , [18] Operation Situation of Railway Traffic an Evolution of 36 Years Subway Votes Fare. Beijing. (2007). [Online]. Available: [19] Jun Hu, The research on urban rail transit s operating cost, M.S. thesis, Beijing Jiaotong University, [20] Beijing Subway. [Online]. Available: Yanan Miao is majore in traffic engineering an receive the Bachelor's egree of Engineering from Harbin Institute of Technology in 2012, an now she is pursuing her grauate stuy in Beijing Jiaotong University. She is intereste in the stuy of the evolution of urban roa network, an has mae rapi progress in this fiel. Liang Gao receive the B.S. egree in system engineering in 2002 an the Ph.D. egree in systems theory in 2007 from Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China. He is currently a Lecturer an Master Stuent supervisor in the School of Traffic an Transportation, Beijing Jiaotong University. His current research interests inclue the moeling an simulation of transportation systems, traffic ecology, iniviual mobility pattern an complex network. 29
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