Monday, November 17, 2008

Bad incentives for travelers

The DC metro has its quirks, but I realized tonight as I was hurrying to go to the metro, that it has a very strange incentive structure. I actually want to get to the metro DURING rush hour.

A list of timetables here will prove my point. During the day, trains run about every 6 minutes. During peak times this can decrease to 3-5 minutes between trains. After 7pm though, they drop to every 12 to 16 minutes!

15 minutes of waiting doesn't seem like a lot, but its enough to get me moving a little faster to be there during peak times. I can't be the only one thinking this.

Thus begins the vicious circle: people show up early to get the peak trains, which causes more congestion, thus needing more trains, causing more people to show up early...

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