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Pros and cons of higher subway fares

By Zhang Haitao | China Daily | Updated: 2014-10-15 08:30

On Monday Beijing's economic planning authorities announced two plans for new subway policy - both changing the flat rate of 2 yuan ($0.3) per trip to a distance-based fare structure. The hearing on the fare plans will be held on Oct 28. Either of the plans will no doubt benefit the metro company financially and in terms of urban planning. But then the government cannot go ahead with the plans without considering the social equity factor in its long-term integrated urban transport strategy.

The distance-based fare structure could have two distinct effects. First, higher subway fare would hit the low-income people the hardest because they depend the most on the subway to commute to and from work. Second, high subway fares could encourage excessive car usage, increasing congestion and pollution.

No wonder, there are concerns that after the proposed distance-based fare system is introduced, members of low-income households who cannot afford to pay higher fares will decrease chances of taking the subway. And since low-income people cannot pay higher subway fares, they would end up commuting by slower-paced and more crowded modes of transport.

Pros and cons of higher subway fares

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