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Math Transportation

How To Hack Subway Fares Using Fare Arbitrage 240

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the saving-pennies-the-hard-way dept.
KentuckyFC writes "Arbitrage is a way of making profit by exploiting price differences for the same asset. In capital markets, traders aggressively seek out and exploit these market 'inefficiencies.' Now one data scientist says it's possible to do the same with metro fares and has studied the fare-arbitrage potential of San Francisco's subway system, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). The idea is to swap tickets with another commuter during your journey to reduce the amount you both pay. BART has 44 stations which allows 946 different journeys and 446,985 unique pairs of trips. Of these, over 60,000 have arbitrage potential and commuters can save at least $1 on 4,666 of them. But there are good reasons why cities might want to maintain price differences for certain journeys — to encourage people to live in certain areas, for example. What's more, it's possible to imagine a pair of commuters who each travel from one side of a city to the other at considerable cost. But by swapping tickets in the city center, they could both pay for a short commute in each others' suburbs. But is that fair to other commuters?"
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How To Hack Subway Fares Using Fare Arbitrage

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  • by wilson_c (322811) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @03:26AM (#46215893)

    Though these arbitrage opportunities may exist, the act of exchange would render them worthless. Even with a hypothetically perfect market established, the amount of effort required by two parties to submit ticket info, match needs, and go through an exchange outweighs the efficiencies gained by the transaction.

  • by N1AK (864906) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @04:38AM (#46216089) Homepage

    I don't particularly give a fuck how unethical it is.

    Of course you don't, but we already knew that 'cause you're a self-declared freeloading cunt.

  • by deroby (568773) <deroby@yucom.be> on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @04:41AM (#46216101)

    It's ironic how you blatantly state the above but put the following on your homepage:

    (emphasis mine)

    "I don’t think I want to be in the western world when it collapses. I think we are such a violent bunch that even I might not survive, and I’ve spent years homeless, did time in Iraq, and so forth. I still don’t have faith I’d be able to guide my family through the chaos of a societal meltdown in a culture which is so coddled and takes so much for granted. I think we need to GTFO here and definitely within the next ten years."

    If only 'the other people' were a more ethical bunch eh?

  • Re:Fraud (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @05:43AM (#46216263) Homepage

    This is, simply, fraud. It's the same as snatching a purse or looting a shop.

    Except, of course, that neither of those are fraud.

    Unless you just meant because they're all illegal, in which case it's also the same as murder.

  • by ILongForDarkness (1134931) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @06:53AM (#46216445)

    Even if you didn't unless things always exactly lined up you'd end up waiting for the next train. I'm sorry even 5 min of my time is worth more than $1 to me.

  • by gnasher719 (869701) on Tuesday February 11, 2014 @09:43AM (#46217403)

    Right of first sale. I can do whatever the hell I want with my little slip of paper (or do they use cards there now?), and to hell with their "rules".

    You can do with your little slip of paper what you like. But it is used as evidence of how far you travelled, and therefore how much you should pay, and if you pay less because you tamper with that evidence, it is fraud. You pay for the journey travelled, the piece of paper is just a device to measure the distance, and you tampered with that measuring device to pay for less than you should.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.

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