Farebox recovery ratio

The farebox recovery ratio (also called fare recovery ratio, fare recovery rate or other terms) of a passenger transportation system is the fraction of operating expenses which are met by the fares paid by passengers. It is computed by dividing the system's total fare revenue by its total operating expenses.[1]

Fare structures

There are two schools of thought in fare collections: a simple, flat rate fare structure (pay a fixed fare regardless of time of day and/or travel distance) or a complex, variable rate fare structure (pay a variable fare depending on time of day and/or travel distance).

In North America, South America, Africa, and Oceania, the majority of the cities use simple, flat rate fare structures due to budgetary constraints. With the majority of North America, most of South America, almost all of Africa, and most of Oceania being heavily reliant on the automobile for both short- and long-distance travel, majority of the transit budgets are allocated toward construction and maintenance of freeways and roads, with very little funding making way to investments in new mass transit technologies. Inadvertently, however, the reliance on simpler fare structures due to their cheaper costs ends up increasing the tax burden on the agencies, as flat-rate fare structures have lower farebox recovery ratios, placing more pressure on the transit agencies to increase taxes, pursue higher fare hikes, or cut services to maintain the transit system.

In sharp contrast, the majority of the cities in Europe and Asia are heavily dependent on mass transit. Therefore, the majority of their transit budgets are used extensively on mass transit technologies, which enables these countries to install and maintain self-supporting and profitable variable pricing structures. Transit agencies that have instituted a more variable fare structure depending on distances or zones traveled have higher farebox ratios over those that rely on a flat-rate model.[2] In addition, recent urban transit scholars agree that variable pricing methods on public transit would actually be a profitable business which can alleviate many municipal agencies' budget problems.[3] For example, transit riders will be discouraged to travel longer distance due to increasing price as one travels further, reducing human congestion of mass transit riders who ride lengthier trips. On the other hand, an increased number of riders will opt to frequently use the transit system for multiple short and quick hop-on and hop-off trips as prices would be cheaper for shorter trips, which mass transit is better suited for. The downside however is that institution of variable-rate fares requires a high-value initial investment in fare ticketing technologies such as the use of contactless smart cards, turnstiles or fare gates, automated ticket machines, as well as the IT infrastructure in which the return on investment may take years depending on the expected transit ridership volumes.[4]

Farebox ratios around the world

The farebox recovery ratio is the ratio of fare revenue to total transport expenses for a given system.[1] These two figures can be found in the financial statements of the operators. Oftentimes the operator runs multiple modes of transport (e.g. subway and bus), and there is no data for individual modes (segment analysis). In this case the operator is considered as one system, or a group of modes are collectively considered one system.

Fare revenue is not the same as "transport" or "operational" revenue, as there are often secondary sources of revenue such as lockers and paid restrooms. Fare revenue is a subset of transport revenue, which is in turn part of total revenue along with "non-transport" or "non-operational" revenue.

Total "transport" or "operational" expenses are a part of total expenses along with "non-transport" or "non-operational" expenses. Total transport expenses may include expansion projects if they are paid for by the operator.

Ratio of fares to operating costs for public transport systems (%)
Continent Country or Region System Ratio Fare system Fare rate Year
Asia Hong Kong Hong Kong MTR 124%[5] Distance based HK$3.5+ (cash)

HK$3.5+ (Octopus card)

Asia Japan Osaka (Hankyu Railway) 123% Distance based ¥150+ 1991[6]
Asia Japan Osaka (OMTB) 137% Distance based ¥200+ 1991[6]
Asia Japan JR East 84%[7] Distance based 2016
Asia Japan Tokyo Metro 119%[8] Distance based ¥160+ 2016
Asia Japan Tokyo Toei rail services 74%[9] Distance based 2015
Asia Pakistan Lahore Metrobus 37.2% [10] Flat rate PKR 20 2014
Asia Taiwan Taipei Metro 100%[11] Distance based NT$20+ (cash)

NT$16+ (EasyCard or other cards)

Asia Taiwan Kaohsiung MRT 83%[12] Distance based NT$20+ (cash)

NT$17+ (iPASS or other cards)

Asia Singapore Singapore (SMRT) 101% Distance based SGD 1.10+ (cash)

SGD 0.77+ (EZ-Link Card)

Asia China Beijing Subway 60% Distance based CNY 3.00+ 2012[14]
Europe Netherlands Amsterdam (GVB) 88% Distance based 2018[15]
Europe Netherlands Rotterdam (RET) 80% Distance based 2016[16]
Europe Germany Berlin 70% Zone based EUR 2.60+ 2010[17]
Europe Belgium Brussels 35% 2007[18]
Europe Denmark Copenhagen 52% Zone based 1991[19]
Europe UK London Underground 107% Zone based 2016[20]
Europe Spain Metropolitan lines of Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC) 93% Zone based 2014[21]
Europe Spain Madrid 41% 2007[18]
Europe Italy Milan 28% 1991[19]
Europe Germany Munich 70% Zone based 2010[22]
Europe Czech Republic Prague (DPP) 53% Flat rate CZK 24+ 2013[23]
Europe France Paris (STIF) 30% Zone based for passes
Distance based for tickets
€1.80 2014[24]
Europe Sweden Stockholm 37% Zone based SEK 44-88 (conductor)
SEK 25-50 (SL Access card)
Note: Tickets are not sold on buses.
Europe Italy Rome 36% 2007[18]
Europe Austria Vienna 49% Flat rate EUR 2.00 2008[25]
Europe Finland Helsinki 49%[26] Zone based; each borough forms a zone. Boroughs with a small area are treated as being part of one of their neighbouring boroughs. EUR 2.80-7.00 (cash)
EUR 1.90–5.60 (travel card)
Transfer free of charge
Europe Switzerland Zurich 60% Zone based CHF 4.30+ 2014[19]
North America US Amtrak 95% Distance & demand based 2017[27]
North America Canada VIA Rail 51% Distance & demand based 2016[28]
North America US Atlanta (MARTA) 30% Flat rate US$2.5 2016[29]
North America US Austin (CMTA) 11% Flat rate US$1.25-US$3.5, depending on modality 2016[29]
North America Canada Brampton (BT) 50% Flat rate C$4.00 (cash)

C$3.00 (Presto Card)

North America US Boston (MBTA) 30% Flat rate US$2.65 (cash) / US$2.1 (CharlieCard) 2016/17[31]
North America Canada Calgary 50% Flat rate C$3.00 2012[32]
North America US Chicago (CTA) 55% Flat rate US$2.5 (cash and Ventra) 2016[33]
North America US Chicago (Metra) 43% Zone based US$4-$11 2016[29]
North America US Cleveland (GCRTA) 18% Flat rate US$2.5 2016[29]
North America US Dallas (DART) 14% Flat rate US$2.5 2016[34]
North America US Detroit (DDOT) 20% Flat rate US$1.5 2016[29]
North America Canada Edmonton (ETS) 39% Flat rate C$3.00 2007[35]
North America US Harrisburg, PA (CAT) 17% Flat rate US$1.75 2015[36]
North America US Las Vegas Monorail 56% Flat rate US$5 2016[37]
North America US Long Island (MTA) 50% Zone based US$5+ 2012[38]
North America US Los Angeles (LACMTA) 23% Flat rate US$1.75, with discounts for seniors, disabled, students 2016[29]
North America US Maryland 23% Variable US$1.6-US$11, depending on distance & modality 2012[38]
North America US Miami-Dade Transit 21% Flat rate US$2.25 2016[29]
North America US Minneapolis - St. Paul 25% Flat rate with rush hour and express surcharges US$2 to US$3.25 2016[29]
North America Canada Mississauga (MiWay) 46% Flat rate C$3.25 2011[39]
North America Canada Montreal (STM) 46% Flat rate C$3.25 2016[40]
North America US New York City MTA 47%[41] Flat rate US$2.75 2016[29]
North America US New York City (NYC Ferry) 29% Flat Rate US$2.75 2017[42]
North America US New York/Connecticut (Metro-North) 60% Distance based US$2.25+ 2016[29]
North America US New York/New Jersey (PATH) 44% Flat rate US$2.75 2016[29]
North America US New Jersey (NJT) 45% Zone based on most Buses and all commuter trains
Flat Rate on some buses and all light rails
US$2.25 (Hudson–Bergen Light Rail
US$1.6 (Newark Light Rail and River line)
Fare varies on Trains and Buses
North America US Orlando (Lynx) 24% Flat rate US$2 2016[29]
North America Canada Ottawa (OC Transpo) 45% Flat rate C$3.65 (Cash)

C$3.30 (Tickets) C$3.00 (Presto Card)

North America US Philadelphia (SEPTA) 39% Flat rate US$2.5 / US$1 (Transfer) 2016[29]
North America US Pierce County, WA 30% Flat rate US$2 2015[36]
North America US Philadelphia/New Jersey (PATCO) 49% Distance based US$1.4+ 2015[36]
North America US Portland Metro Area (TriMet) 30% Flat rate US$2.5 2016[29]
North America US Greater Seattle Area (King County Metro) 35% Zone and peak based US$2.5+[44] 2016[45]
North America US Puget Sound Region (Sound Transit) 42% Zone & distance based US$2.75+ (Bus)[46]

US$2.25+ (Light Rail)[46]

US$1.75+ (Commuter Rail)[46]

North America Canada Quebec City (RTC) 39% Flat rate C$3.00 2011[39]
North America US San Antonio (VIA) 12% Flat rate US$1.2 2016[29]
North America US San Diego MTS 39% Flat rate US$2.5 2016[29]
North America US San Francisco Bay Area (BART) 70% Distance based US$2+ 2017[37]
North America US Oakland Airport Connector 96% Flat rate US$6 2015/2016[48]
North America US San Francisco Bay Area (Caltrain) 63% Zone based US$3.75+ 2015[49]
North America US San Francisco Bay Area (SFMTA) 35% Flat rate US$2.25 2016[50]
North America US Santa Clara County (VTA) 10% Express surcharges US$1.25 to US$12 2016[51]
North America US Southern California Regional Rail Authority 41% Distance based US$2.5 to US$27.5 2017[52]
North America US Staten Island (MTA) 15% Flat rate US$2.75 2015[53]
North America Canada Toronto (TTC) 72.8% Flat rate C$3.00 (tokens/electronic fare card) $3.25 (cash)[54] 2017[55]
North America Canada Toronto, Hamilton and area (GO Transit) 77% Distance based C$5.30+ 2015/16[56]
North America Canada Vancouver TransLink 55.8%[57] Zone based; transition to distance based upcoming C$2.95+ 2017
North America US Washington, DC (WMATA) 42%[58] Distance and time of day based US$2(Bus)

US$2+ (Off-peak Rail)

US$2.25+ (Peak Rail)

North America Canada Winnipeg 60% Flat rate C$2.50 2011[39]
Oceania New Zealand Auckland 44% Zone Based 2012/13[59]
Oceania Australia Canberra 21% Flat rate A$4.20 2007[60]
Oceania Australia Sydney 27% Distance based A$0.15 / km 2014[61]
Oceania Australia Melbourne 30% Zone and time based From A$3.76 / hour / zone 2014[62]
Oceania New Zealand Christchurch 35% Zone Based 2012/13[59]
Oceania New Zealand Dunedin 60% Zone Based 2015/16[59]
Oceania New Zealand Hamilton 34% Flat rate 2012/13[59]
Oceania New Zealand Wellington 57% Zone Based 2012/13[59]


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Amtrak Cascades

The Amtrak Cascades is a higher-speed passenger train corridor in the Pacific Northwest, operated by Amtrak in partnership with the U.S. states of Washington and Oregon. It is named after the Cascade mountain range that the route parallels. The 467-mile (752 km) corridor runs from Vancouver, British Columbia, through Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon to Eugene, Oregon.

In the fiscal year 2017, Cascades was Amtrak's eighth-busiest route with a total annual ridership of over 810,000. In fiscal year 2018, farebox recovery ratio for the train was 63%.As of January 2018, 11 trains operate along the corridor each day–two between Vancouver, BC and Seattle, two between Vancouver, BC and Portland, three between Seattle and Portland; one from Portland to Eugene, and three between Eugene and Seattle. Presently, no train travels directly through the entire length of the corridor. For trains that do not travel directly to Vancouver or Eugene, connections are available on Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach services. Additionally, Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach services offer connections to other destinations in British Columbia, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington not on the rail corridor.

Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company

The Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company (French: Société des Transports Intercommunaux de Bruxelles or STIB; Dutch: Maatschappij voor het Intercommunaal Vervoer te Brussel or MIVB) is the local public transport operator in Brussels, Belgium. It is usually referred to in English by the double acronym STIB-MIVB, or by its French acronym, STIB.

It is responsible for the Brussels metro, Brussels trams and Brussels buses, linking with the De Lijn network in Flanders and the TEC network in Wallonia.

Bus bulb

A bus bulb, also called a bus boarder, bus border, bumpout, bus cape, or a kerb outstand is an arrangement by which a sidewalk or pavement is extended outwards for a bus stop; typically the bus bulb replaces roadway that would otherwise be part of a parking lane. With bus bulbs or boarders, a bus can stay in its traffic lane to discharge and pick up passengers, instead of having to pull over to the curb.

The term bus bulb is prevalent in North American usage, whilst bus boarder or bus border is used elsewhere.A bus bulb or boarder can be considered as a specific form of curb extension, although that term is more normally used to describe a sidewalk extension for the purposes of traffic calming or other traffic management purposes.

Circle route

A circle route or circumferential route, in a public transport network or system, is a route following a path approximating a circle, or at least a closed curve. Such a route may be operated by various forms of public transport.

The expression "circle route" may refer in particular to:

a route orbiting a central point, commonly the central business district (CBD), in a city or town;

a route running in approximately a circular path from a point near the centre of a city or town out to a peripheral point and back again;

a feeder route running from an interchange station around a neighbourhood or suburb in approximately a circle.Typically, a circle route will connect at several locations with one or more cross-city routes or radial routes offering services in a straighter line into or out of a city or town centre. When a circle route orbits a CBD in a large arc, it will often provide transverse (or lateral) links between suburbs or satellites, either on its own or in combination with other routes. Such connections assist travelers by reducing travel times, avoiding congested CBD centers, and sometimes reducing the number of transfers. Similar benefits may also be achieved by half circle routes or peripheral cross-city routes.

Cross-city route

A cross-city route is a public transport route linking one suburb (or satellite) of a city or town with another, usually relatively distant, suburb (or satellite).

Such a route can be operated by various forms of public transport, including commuter rail, rapid transit, trams (streetcars), trolleybuses, or motor buses.


A fare is the fee paid by a passenger for use of a public transport system: rail, bus, taxi, etc. In the case of air transport, the term airfare is often used.

Fare structure is the system set up to determine how much is to be paid by various passengers using a transit vehicle at any given time.

A linked trip is a trip from the origin to the destination on the transit system. Even if a passenger must make several transfers during a journey, the trip is counted as one linked trip on the system.

Hilltopper (train)

The Hilltopper was a passenger train operated by Amtrak in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It ran daily from South Station in Boston, Massachusetts to Catlettsburg, Kentucky. The 1,674 mi (2,694 km) run made 34 stops in 11 states and the District of Columbia.

Imperial Valley Transit

Imperial Valley Transit (IVT), also known as IV Transit, is the provider of mass transportation in California's Imperial Valley, serving the cities of El Centro, Calexico, Brawley, and Imperial. Formed in 1989 with just 3 buses and serving close to 3000 passengers per month, the agency currently serves more than 73,000 passengers per month with over 20 buses in operation. Twelve routes, plus the El Centro Circulators (which are labeled as the Green Line running clockwise and the Blue Line running counterclockwise) form the structure of the system. Service is provided every day of the week except on recognized federal holidays. Two limited stop routes (the 31/32 Direct) also travel Monday-Saturday, and two express buses (the 21 & 22 IVC Express) run to Imperial Valley College when classes are in session.


The Mass Transit Railway (MTR; Chinese: 港鐵; Cantonese Yale: Góngtit) is a major public transport network serving Hong Kong. Operated by the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL), it consists of heavy rail, light rail, and feeder bus service centred on an 11-line rapid transit network serving the urbanised areas of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and the New Territories. The system currently includes 218.2 km (135.6 mi) of rail with 159 stations, including 91 heavy rail stations and 68 light rail stops. The MTR is one of the most profitable metro systems in the world; it had a farebox recovery ratio of 187 per cent in 2015, the world's highest. The MTR was ranked the #1 metro system in the world by CNN in 2017. Under the government's rail-led transport policy, the MTR system is a common mode of public transport in Hong Kong, with over five million trips made in an average weekday. It consistently achieves a 99.9 per cent on-time rate on its train journeys. As of 2014, the MTR has a 48.1 per cent market share of the franchised public transport market, making it the most popular transport option in Hong Kong. The integration of the Octopus smart card fare-payment technology into the MTR system in September 1997 has further enhanced the ease of commuting on the MTR.

Construction of the MTR was prompted by a study, released in 1967, commissioned by the Hong Kong Government in order to find solutions to the increasing road congestion problem caused by the territory's fast-growing economy. Construction started soon after the release of the study, and the first line opened in 1979. The MTR was immediately popular with residents of Hong Kong; as a result, subsequent lines have been built to cover more territory. There are continual debates regarding how and where to expand the MTR network.As a successful railway operation, the MTR has served as a model for other newly built systems in the world, particularly urban rail transit in China.

Metro Green Line (Minnesota)

The Metro Green Line (formerly called the Central Corridor) is an 11-mile (18 km) light rail line that connects the central business districts of Minneapolis and Saint Paul in Minnesota as well as the University of Minnesota. An extension is being planned that would extend the line to the southwest connecting St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie. The line follows the path of former Metro Transit bus route 16 along University Avenue and Washington Avenue (which runs from downtown Minneapolis through the University of Minnesota main campus). It is the second light-rail line in the region, after the Blue Line, which opened in 2004 and connects Minneapolis with the southern suburb of Bloomington.

Construction on the Green Line began in late 2010. It opened to the public on June 14, 2014. The travel time between the downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul stops is about 46 minutes. This entire line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is one of only seven mass-transit rail lines in the United States to do so (the others being the PATCO Speedline, the Red and Blue Lines of the Chicago 'L', the PATH lines, the Staten Island Railway, and the New York City Subway). In 2018, the line carried a total of 13.8 million passengers.

Network length (transport)

In transport terminology, network length (or, less often, system length) refers to the total length of a transport network, and commonly also refers to the length of any fixed infrastructure associated with the network.

A measurement can be made of the network length of various different modes of transport, including rail, bus, road and air. The measurement may focus on one of a number of specific characteristics, such as route length, line length or track length.

Non-revenue track

Non-revenue track (or trackage), or a non-revenue route, is a section of track or transport route that is not used to carry passengers or revenue-earning freight or goods. The term is used to refer mainly to sections of track or routes in public transport systems, such as rapid transit and tramway networks, but non-revenue track or routes can also be found in other transport systems. Non-revenue tracks may be used for revenue service during temporary reroutings.

Operating ratio

In finance, the Operating ratio is a company's operating expenses as a percentage of revenue. This financial ratio is most commonly used for industries which require a large percentage of revenues to maintain operations, such as railroads. In railroading, an operating ratio of 80 or lower is considered desirable.

The operating ratio can be used to determine the efficiency of a company's management by comparing operating expenses to net sales. It is calculated by dividing the operating expenses by the net sales. The smaller the ratio, the greater the organization's ability to generate profit. The ratio does not factor in expansion or debt repayment.Alternatively, it may be expressed as a ratio of sales to cost. In such case a higher ratio indicates a better ability to generate revenue.

Outline of public transport

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to public transport:

Public transport – transport of passengers by group travel systems available for use by the general public, typically managed on a schedule, operated on established routes, and that charge a posted fee for each trip. Public transport modes include city buses, trolleybuses, trams (or light rail) and passenger trains, rapid transit (metro/subway/underground, etc.) and ferries. Public transport between cities is dominated by airlines, coaches, and intercity rail.

Pioneer (train)

The Pioneer was an Amtrak passenger train that ran between Seattle and Chicago via Portland, Boise, Salt Lake City, and Denver.

Radial route

A radial route is a public transport route linking a central point in a city or town, usually in the central business district (CBD), with a suburb (or satellite) of that city or town. Such a route can be operated by various forms of public transport, including commuter rail, rapid transit, trams (streetcars), trolleybuses, or motor buses.

Typically, a pair of radial routes will be combined, solely for operational reasons, into a single cross-city route, between one suburb and another suburb. A cross-city route of that type is sometimes called a through route. A public transport operator may combine radial routes into a through route because terminating a route in a city or town centre has certain disadvantages:

Vehicles can cause congestion while standing between journeys and when turning.

Valuable land is often occupied with route terminal facilities.

Time is wasted by vehicles turning round or reversing (reducing vehicle utilization and increasing costs).

Passengers wishing to travel across the city or town centre will have to change vehicles or walk for part of their journeys.On the other hand, there are certain advantages in terminating a route in a city or town centre:

Schedules are less likely to be disrupted by congestion (since there can be provision for recovery time in the city center).

Convenient interchange between routes may be provided at a common terminal.

Fare structures are less complex.In most cases, the advantages of operating routes across a city or town centre outweigh the disadvantages, but each case must be assessed on its own merits.


SamTrans (stylized as samTrans; officially the San Mateo County Transit District) is a public transport agency in and around San Mateo, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. It provides bus service throughout San Mateo County and into portions of San Francisco and Palo Alto. SamTrans also operates commuter shuttles to BART stations and community shuttles. Service is largely concentrated on the east side of the Santa Cruz Mountains, and, in the central county, I-280, leaving coast-side service south of Pacifica spotty and intermittent.SamTrans is constituted as a special district under California state law. It is governed by a board of nine appointed members; two county Supervisors, one “transportation expert” appointed by the county Board of Supervisors, three city councilpersons appointed by the cities in the county to represent the county's judicial districts, and three citizens appointed by the other six board members (including one from the coastside).

The district was established in 1976 and consolidated eleven different municipal bus systems serving the county. One year later, SamTrans began operation of mainline bus service to San Francisco. Shuttle service began in 2000.In addition to fixed route bus and paratransit operations, the district participates in the administration of the San Jose-San Francisco commuter rail line Caltrain. SamTrans also provides administrative support for the San Mateo County Transportation Authority, a separate board charged with administering the half-cent (0.5 percent) sales tax levy that funds highway and transit improvement projects.

South San Francisco Ferry Terminal

The South San Francisco Ferry Terminal is the only operating ferry terminal in San Mateo County, California. Boats are operated by San Francisco Bay Ferry and connect the city of South San Francisco to the Oakland Ferry Terminal in Jack London Square as well as Alameda, California. Construction began in 2009 and ferry service started on June 4, 2012. While ferry service between San Francisco and ports to the south existed as far south as San Jose/Alviso during the 1800s, most passengers to Peninsula destinations took the San Francisco and San Jose Railroad after it was completed in 1864 as part of the transcontinental railway.

Transport network

A transport network, or transportation network is a realisation of a spatial network, describing a structure which permits either vehicular movement or flow of some commodity.

Examples include but are not limited to road networks, railways, air routes, pipelines, aqueducts, and power lines.

Bus service
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