Northstar cuts fares by as much as 25% to lure more riders


I am interviewed by Pat Doyle in the Star Tribune: Northstar cuts fares by as much as 25% to lure more riders :

""We are a brand-new system and kind of have to play with price and demand to get it right," said Ed Byers, deputy chief operating officer for commuter and light rail at Metro Transit. But a transportation researcher critical of rail transit says the relative ease of driving and parking in Minneapolis practically guarantees soft demand for the commuter train.

"You're not looking at a market that was suited to this," said David Levinson, a professor at the University of Minnesota."


That fare will drop to $6 under the new pricing formula. Fares from Anoka or Coon Rapids-Riverdale to downtown will be cut from $4 to $3.

Levinson is skeptical it will pay off.

"They're hoping to use this to give people a taste who might otherwise not have tried it," he said. "I just don't think there's a large market out there of people who would ride the Northstar line ... for a $1 fare drop."


This will be a very interesting to watch. It is hard to believe that a $1 fare drop will make much of a difference in ridership. Frankly, I'm curious to know what ridership numbers would be if they lowered fares to, say, $1. In other words, I'm not sure that the reason ridership has been low is cost. It might just be an unattractive mode regardless of cost.

David Levinson

Network Reliability in Practice

Evolving Transportation Networks

Place and Plexus

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Assessing the Benefits and Costs of Intelligent Transportation Systems

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This page contains a single entry by David Levinson published on July 6, 2012 10:08 AM.

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