Nonlinear pricing of taxi services

Hai Yang*, C. S. Fung, Ka-Io Wong, S. C. Wong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

86 Scopus citations


This paper examines the effects of nonlinear fare structures in taxi markets using an extended taxi model with an explicit consideration of perceived profitability. The expected profit, defined as the profit per unit time (inclusive of both occupied and vacant taxi times), that a taxi driver expects to receive from picking up a customer in a particular zone or location, has great impact on the taxi driver's choice of location in the search for customers. The fare structure directly governs the profitability of taxi rides of different distances originating from different locations. With these explicit considerations, the extended model is intended to look into the market effects of adopting a nonlinear fare structure with declining incremental charges. The proposed nonlinear fare structure could help restore a level-playing field for taxi operators whose businesses have been affected by some taxi drivers who resort to practices such as offering fare discounts or accepting requests for discounted fares from passengers for long-haul trips. Analysis of sensitivity of social welfare and profit gain as well as taxi/customer wait/search times is conducted with respect to the parameters in the nonlinear fare structure for the Hong Kong taxi market, and Pareto-improving nonlinear fare amendments are identified that neither disadvantage any customer nor reduce the taxi operators' profits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-348
Number of pages12
JournalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2010


  • Market equilibrium
  • Nonlinear pricing
  • Pareto-improving
  • Taxi service

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