Paying for Travel Distance and Time Saving : Transit Fare and Benefit Mismatch and Its Justice Implications

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number04021040
Journal / PublicationJournal of Urban Planning and Development
Issue number3
Online published2 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021


Transit fares affect not only whether people are not overburdened with their expenditure on transit services but also whether people can get reasonable benefits from transit services for what they pay. Prevalence of various simplified fare systems and highly differentiated service quality point to a plausible prima facie concern that transit riders suffer from transit fare and benefit mismatch (TFBM), evoking justice concerns and potential impacts on transit usage. This article enriches our understanding of justice implications of transit fares by proposing new metrics and testing them empirically in Hong Kong, where transit dependence is high, that is, a considerable proportion of transit traffic is captive. By considering travel distance and time savings as primary benefits, two indexes are proposed to quantify TFBM. The distributional effects of TFBM on different neighborhood segments are compared and the relationships between spatial or socioeconomic vulnerability, TFBM, and transit usage are explored. Our findings suggest that the transit use ratio of neighborhoods in the peripheral areas of the city is significantly influenced by TFBM, while socioeconomically vulnerable neighborhoods are less sensitive to TFBM. Owing to the lack of available alternatives of motorized mode choice, socioeconomically vulnerable neighborhoods face a higher risk of being impaired by TFBM.

Research Area(s)

  • Hong Kong, Justice, Transit fare and benefit mismatch, Transit usage