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Author Topic: Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?  (Read 15789 times)

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Offline Jando

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Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?
« on: September 16, 2013, 03:28:27 PM »
I've played a number of Simutrans Standard games (with unmodified Pak128, no add-ons) by now - and never managed to build a profitable short-range (for example city-wide) passenger network. Just not enough revenue to cover the maintenance costs. All this changes when long-range routes are served, those make ungodly amounts of money, to the extent that a simple bus connecting two smallish towns 30 or 40 tiles apart creates as much revenue as a whole tube line - and at a tiny fraction of the maintenance cost of the tube line of course.

Now, in real life the price for public transport varies heavily by range. For example, the price of a simple tube ride per kilometre (or mile) is multiple times more expensive than the price of a first class transatlantic flight is per kilometre. Am I right that this aspect is not simulated in Simutrans, i.e. that in Simutrans the revenue calculation is solely based on distance covered and a fixed revenue per unit of distance?

Because that would explain why I seem to be unable to cover my maintenance costs with the revenue I make with short-range transport services. :)

Offline Combuijs

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Re: Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2013, 03:54:04 PM »
Indeed, revenue calculation is based on distance covered and has a fixed revenue per tile. There is also a speedbonus (dependant on the goodstype (a.o. passengers, mail) and the game year). But short distance payout is the same per tile as long distance payout.

Offline Ters

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Re: Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2013, 04:03:51 PM »
Am I right [...] that in Simutrans the revenue calculation is solely based on distance covered and a fixed revenue per unit of distance?

Simutrans also takes speed into account. If a vehicle moves faster than "the average" for vehicles of its kind, its income is higher. If the vehicle is slower, the income will be lower. What Simutrans means by distance can be configured. At least one of the meanings is much worse for city streets than long straight roads.

Apart from that, Simutrans consider all means of transport for the same way type equal. In my experience (pak64), buses are balanced for short distance use. Using them intercity would yield a too high income, but countering this is the fact that buses have too low capacity to be practical for this. Players are forced to switch to trains in order to keep up with the number of passengers.

Offline Aquin

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Re: Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2013, 04:20:15 PM »
I never had problems starting a good working local passenger network with plain Pak128, I just don't start with underground trains. Trams are usually profitable, their tracks are alot cheaper in constrction and upkeep compared to undergroud rail tunnels. Intercity trains remain the cashcows, though, but then again you need to get the passengers to and from the train station.

Offline Ters

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Re: Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2013, 04:53:30 PM »
Another issue with Simutrans is that it is difficult to make profit within a single city. Several cities have to be connected to yields enough passengers for any single part to generate profit.

Offline greenling

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Re: Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2013, 05:31:21 PM »
Hello All
I Thinking since over a year after to build busses with they you make money!
But i can not in moment to build those modells.

Offline Jando

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Re: Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2013, 06:40:12 PM »
Thanks for your answers. I should have mentioned in my OP that I knew about speedbonus but that I switched it off. Apologies for not mentioning it.

In my last game (1930) I got a rather large-ish town, about 80.000 inhabitants. I tried with busses and trams first but couldn't cope with the demand (and even then I couldn't make a profit). Trams with 2-tile stations (capacity about 220 passengers per tram I think) wasn't enough, thus I built the mainline connecting the high density parts of the town as underground.

I can - barely - cope with the demand now but I will be broke next year. :)

Thanks again.

Offline prissi

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Re: Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2013, 07:58:15 PM »
You cannot really switch off speedbonus, or rather there are several ways.

If you play without timeline, then the speedbonus is fixed at 80km/h (quite high for road). Under such conditions only buses with a maximum speed of 50 km/h are profitable, all faster one will have higher losses in the city (since they are balanced for higher speeds if the pakset is balanced).

If you want to do only innercity, you have to play a map with less than three cities. You should be able to turn a profit then.

Offline Sarlock

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Re: Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2013, 02:02:18 AM »
It can be difficult to turn a profit with an inner city bus line in later years because of the speed bonus issue.  City roads are limited to 50 km/h and therefore buses are too and thus the potential for profits is slim.  If your bus runs near full most of the time, it can become profitable (though less so when including maintenance costs of bus stops), but often times buses are used as a way to aggregate your passengers to larger hubs, often running at a slight loss, in order to transport them longer distances (at higher speeds) and make good profits.  I generally expect my urban bus lines to run at a small loss when I play (and put trams/subways in areas of higher density).

Offline Jando

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Re: Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2013, 09:15:02 AM »
Thanks to all your answers, I experimented a bit more (this time with a pak128.britain map, no add-ons, unmodified config) in 1930 - and it's quite clear now to me what happens. I don't know whether it's a pakset issue or whether it's a general rule - but different waytypes obviously yield very different revenues - when serving the exact same route.

What I did was to run an innercity route for a few months - with a bus, a tram and an underground train at the same time, serving exactly the same route with exactly the same stops. The results make absolutely no sense to me though.

In the last month:
Bus: 743 trips, 921 credits vehicle earnings, thus 1.24 credits per trip
Tram: 1284 trips, 3411 credits vehicle earnings, thus 2.66 credits per trip
Train: 3019 trips, 644 credits vehicle earnings, thus 0.21 credits per trip.

Please note that it's vehicle earnings, thus money incoming before running costs are accounted for. Do I have a strange bug in my game/pakset or does the game really make passengers pay roughly 10 times as much for a tram ride as they do for a ride with the underground between the same stops?

Offline Fabio

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Re: Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2013, 10:08:55 AM »
You must consider also speed bonus. a state-of-art tram will earn more than a similar speed train if faster trains are available in the same time span.

Offline Combuijs

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Re: Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2013, 10:36:10 AM »
I don't think pak128.britain is already balanced out for these kind of things. That is still a work in progress.

Offline Jando

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Re: Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2013, 11:16:35 AM »
You must consider also speed bonus. a state-of-art tram will earn more than a similar speed train if faster trains are available in the same time span.

Well, the underground train in my example is faster than the tram - still earns less than 10% of the tram per trip. :)

I don't think pak128.britain is already balanced out for these kind of things. That is still a work in progress.

Thanks. Will test the same with standard pak128 later. I'm curious. :)

Offline Fabio

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Re: Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2013, 11:23:37 AM »
Did you also consider their load factor or they always travel fully loaded?

Offline Ters

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Re: Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2013, 04:28:10 PM »
Well, the underground train in my example is faster than the tram - still earns less than 10% of the tram per trip. :)

Trains and trams have separate speed bonuses, so it's still possible that the speed bonus for the trains is less than it is for trams. You can see the current speed bonus speeds and see how income varies with speed in the goods list window.

Offline greenling

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Re: Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2013, 08:46:14 PM »
Hello Jando
The Pak128 it´s moment not befor 1930 playable.
It do miss many vehicles befor 1930. And the factorys it not befor 1930 not full devlop.

Offline Jando

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Re: Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2013, 10:08:24 PM »
I have a Pak128 game in 1935, made the same test, i.e. having a city route served by a bus, a tram and an underground train at the same time. Here's what a passenger pays for the trip:

0.15 credit when they're travelling per underground
0.27 credit when they're travelling per bus and
0.37 credit when they're travelling per tram.

Probably because of the separate "speed bonuses" for bus, tram and train I assume. Thus a bus travelling at 40 km/h or a tram at 50 km/h get a higher speed bonus than a train travelling at 80 km/h. Makes little sense to me but it is what it is.

With that I go back to running stage coaches and brigs in 1800. :)

Offline Ters

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Re: Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?
« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2013, 05:04:29 AM »
Probably because of the separate "speed bonuses" for bus, tram and train I assume. Thus a bus travelling at 40 km/h or a tram at 50 km/h get a higher speed bonus than a train travelling at 80 km/h. Makes little sense to me but it is what it is.

Since trams rarely go faster than about 50 km/h, the speed bonuses are set up so that a tram going at 50 km/h don't get a reduced income. Trains are however able to go much faster, so passengers would consider a train travelling at only 50 km/h to be an almost unacceptably slow train and refuse to pay "full" price.

It's not unrealistic that you pay as much to take a tram going at 50 km/h as for a train going 80 km/h. I recently took a train ride costing about 25 Euros. In the city I went to, a tram ride would cost at least about 4 Euros. However, the train ride was 100 km long, while the tram ride would only be between 1 and 10 km. The train ride took about an hour, while the tram ride could last up to fifteen minutes. That means that a paid 0.25 Euro/km for the train, while a tram would be 4-0.4 Euro/km. Alternatively 0.4 Euro/min for the train, while it would be between 1-0.27 Euro/min for the tram. Since passengers in Simutrans pay per "km", it's true to reality that trams make more money than a train for the same distance.

In real life, trains operating within cities, especially metros, may operate on the same pricing system as trams. The same goes for buses. Simutrans, however, doesn't know the difference between intercity and intracity trains/buses.

mph1977

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Re: Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?
« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2014, 05:13:46 PM »
I never had problems starting a good working local passenger network with plain Pak128, I just don't start with underground trains. Trams are usually profitable, their tracks are alot cheaper in constrction and upkeep compared to undergroud rail tunnels. Intercity trains remain the cashcows, though, but then again you need to get the passengers to and from the train station.

I'd agree with that assertion ,  in some case multiple  tram routes are needed  i usually use the rail station as the hub although sometimes i build a secondary hub in large cities to allow ionerchange  between tram lines without riding all the way to the rail station.

Offline prissi

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Re: Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?
« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2014, 09:01:49 PM »
Trains are balanced for pulling as many cars as they can for reaching their maximum speed. Hence if your trains are too short, you income will be lower.

Sique

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Re: Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?
« Reply #20 on: June 30, 2014, 05:38:25 PM »
My tactics to get a inner city system up and running, which turns a profit is to have a single tram line which covers the whole town in an endless loop. I mostly use dual tram stations. For a larger town (>5000), it pays to create a subterran tram from the beginning, that means putting a tram depot somewhere and let it run into a tunnel below the city. Later you have to add signals before and after each station to get enough trams running on your loop. Only those few places where you can't put a dual tram station that easily you can place a bus stop which connects to the next tram station, and where the bus waits until it is loaded.

Offline Ters

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Re: Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?
« Reply #21 on: June 30, 2014, 06:10:39 PM »
In my experience, one single big loop spends a lot of time and seating capacity moving passengers on long detours. This is especially true for lines that only move in one direction, but bidirectional lines don't do away with the problem completely. By the time the notion of an inner city comes into play, lines covering the entire town has long since become inadequate. But this might depend heavily on the pak set.

Sique

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Re: Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?
« Reply #22 on: June 30, 2014, 07:11:39 PM »
Hm. I didn't see any limits so far with the whole-city-loop. I have towns >90,000 with a single loop, and those lines are making money, money, money.

Offline DrSuperGood

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Re: Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?
« Reply #23 on: July 01, 2014, 01:24:49 AM »
Depends on your payment option chosen for the game instance.

Option 0 (distance between stops) it is super easy to make very profitable commuter services. Just make sure you are always shipping positively between stops (no loop back on path) and that the convoys are running near 100% full. In Pak64 use tunnels to avoid speed limits and bad city layouts for efficient busses or trams.
Option 1 (distance between transfers, where passengers get on to where they get off with no payments in-between) probably still works but you will need to use trams and it will be nowhere near as profitable.
Option 2 (classic payment or distance between source and destination payment) it is almost impossible to break even with commuter lines. You have to use the money from inter-city to break even.

I hope I got the options in the right order...

Option 2 is virtually impossible in Pak64 due to high convoy costs giving only very little detour movement allowance before going into the red. Option 1 is probably the most fun as long as you mentally make a rule that you do not cargo bounce.

They all work for pak128 although obviously option 2 makes play a ton harder.

Offline Ters

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Re: Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?
« Reply #24 on: July 01, 2014, 05:08:42 AM »
Hm. I didn't see any limits so far with the whole-city-loop. I have towns >90,000 with a single loop, and those lines are making money, money, money.

Yes, they make money (at least with payment option 0), but I also get swarmed with countless crowded station messages.

Sique

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Re: Can short range passenger services be profitable in Simutrans?
« Reply #25 on: July 01, 2014, 07:57:41 AM »
I will try the Hub&Spoke design with option 2, because this sounds like an interesting challenge.