Rockingham Racer wrote: ↑Fri Sep 06, 2019 6:14 am
There it is again: "break even". Only in this country is that a hope or expectation for passenger rail service. Whatever happened to the notion of "public service"?
The question of which public service is worth providing is still one that needs criteria, and breakeven (or farebox recovery ratio) is an easy-to-understand mix of:
1) How costly a service is to provide
2) How many people find the service useful (versus other alternatives)
3) How valuable those users find the service
Multiply users by fares and subtract costs.
Just about the only non-breakeven element that is interesting is the Civil Rights component, where we ask how the route (or statewide system) serves disadvantaged groups (poor & traditionally-disadvantaged minorities).
Analogy with Illinois: the new bus services
that Virginia is overlaying atop its rail services: serving Danville by bus, and particularly the east-west bus, is the part of the system that they'd be more willing to lose money on because it serves minority communities along Virginia's southern tier.
We can imagine lots of lines on maps. The question of which to run is often best answered by which have the best fare recovery ratio (are closest to breakeven).