Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thoughts while riding the Red Line this morning

-The short-run elasticity of demand for the red line seems to be very low: the train was at 8 as packed as ever, even though fares are up by about 15 percent this week from last week. It would be nice to see some ridership data, of course, and the long-run elasticity will be higher. Nevertheless, it occurs to me that people on the Red Line going from Montgomery County into Downtown DC likely have above-median incomes, so it might make sense to keep raising fares between Shady Grove and Metro Center until people start having a really strong incentive to drive (even in the face of more expensive parking).

-I am grateful to the people at Apple, who simply replaced my iPod with the trashed hard-drive (it was only 9 months old) for free. It enabled me to listen to Sweeney Todd--a piece that in my mind is just as good as La Boheme--on the way in. The emotions it stirred also brought to mind a conversation I had with Ed Glaeser many years ago. I told him that music moved me very much, whereas I just liked great paintings. He told me the opposite was true for him. I think it is too bad that we all aren't very moved by both.


Katherine Helen Anne said...

How about just raising the parking fee instead? Raising the fare would also affect lower-income people who take the bus to the metro.

I guess the only way Metro price-discriminates is by having lower off-peak fares - and that only catches non-commuters and people who have sufficiently flexible work arrangements and who are highly sensitive to the small price difference. (I would be interested to know how ridership changed when they instituted the peak and off-peak fares.)

davelindahl said...

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