After liberalization is announced, the leading industrial group Sabancı had declared that they were interested in passenger transportation with high speed trains. A similar interest had also come from Ulusoy, one of the bus transportation company in Turkey.
Why is everybody interested in passenger transportation, and not in freight transportation? Is there more profit in passenger transport? Or high speed trains are more attractive just because they’re more popular and modern?
Let’s do a small calculation:
The average number of passengers in each trip is 279 in Ankara-Eskisehir high speed train*. Let’s take an average of 22 TL/seat as ticket price. The revenue of each trip will be 6129 TL. If you use similar parameters for Ankara-Konya which has the same ticket price, the average revenue drops to 5843 TL.
On the other hand, TCDD runs a transport with freight wagons from Ankara to Eskisehir, the min rev (with 400 tons which is min amount for a block train) will be 7252 TL. The difference is more for Ankara-Konya, 18904 TL.
Revenue for passenger must include the expenses of high quality infrastructure and train sets and also additional services for passengers before and during the trip. On the other hand, customers of freight trains have to be satisfied with the service offered and have to pay for any additional service other than transportation.
Are Sabancı & Ulusoy fascinated by the popularity and modern-looking of high speed trains?
Not really. Let’s proceed with statistics of TCDD** a little more. The operational unit cost per high speed train passenger-km is 0,09. That means, to earn 6129 TL, TCDD spends 6143 TL. On the other hand, for the freight train, unit cost per ton-km is 0,11 and expense for that rev is 11176 TL.
What’s more, freight trains, under heavy competition of trucks, have a market share of 5%. On the other hand, the market share of high speed train for Ankara-Eskişehir became 72%, and Ankara-Konya reached to 65% in a short time. And those shares are not supported by İstanbul yet.
No hesitation from my side that money is glaring everyone, and nothing else.
* Between Ankara and Eskişehir, 26411 trip has been done, and 7357851 passenger is carried according to the press release of TCDD.
** The Statiscial Yearbook of TCDD 2007-2011
Illustration: Onur Uysal