The Impact of Early Bird Scheme on Commuter Trip Scheduling in Hong Kong: A Causal Analysis Using Travel Card Data

This paper aims to quantify the impact of the Early Bird Discount (EBD) on trip scheduling by regular commuters in Hong Kong. The EBD, a transit demand management policy aimed at spreading peak loadings and achieving uniform diurnal ridership, was introduced by the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) on 1st September 2014, offering 25% fare discount for trips culminating between 7.15a.m. to 8.15a.m. at twenty-nine designated stations. The revealed response of a panel of MTR commuters extracted from the travel card dataset is studied by employing the difference-in-difference method. This method estimates the causal effect of an intervention using before-after analysis on treated and control groups with effective adjustment for temporal and confounding biases. The resulting estimates are regressed on travel characteristics and socio-economic and demographic characteristics of commuters using generalised linear models to determine the factors influencing responsiveness to the policy. The aggregate level impact of the policy is found to be statistically significant. But aggregate shift in travel timing is diminutive as the observed change in travel timing is statistically significant only for 14% of discounted origin destination pairs. Travel costs, travel times and work-schedule flexibility are found to be the factors significant in determining the overall response. Most sensitive to the discount are cross harbour trips. Higher income commuters and females are also found to be more responsive.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee AP030 Standing Committee on Public Transportation Marketing and Fare Policy.
  • Authors:
    • Anupriya, Anupriya
    • Graham, Daniel J
    • Hörcher, Daniel
    • Anderson, Richard
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2018


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 6p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01657397
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 18-01673
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jan 8 2018 10:25AM