This can’t be right, or location theory upended

The flight from Oslo airport to Bergen airport costs less than the cab ride from Oslo airport to downtown Oslo.  Blame the taxi cartel if you wish (is there one in Norway?), but relative to food and other prices that cab ride seemed like a bargain.  Fifty minutes in the cab cost only three or so kung pao chickens with water.  Imagine how location theory should look when it is cheapest to travel far and costliest to make small moves.  I am reminded of Venice, where getting your shopping cart up through the steps to cross a canal or two is sometimes harder than taking a train or boat out of the place altogether.

Comments

No cartel on Taxis in Oslo. There used to be a monopoly, but we just opened up to free competition a few years ago ... and what happend ... prizes went UP (as far as I can tell).

I guess one reason for the expensive fare between the airport and Oslo is that any sensible traveller takes the magnificent airport express train taking you downtown in less than 20 minutes. You'll save hassle, time, money AND the environment. Which leaves clueless (as in 'don't know about the train'), environmentaly unfriendly (as in 'I am to important to take public transport'), money wasters taking the overpriced taxies. Not sure which one of these fits here, but reading the previous posts about Norwegian prices, it seems it can't be the last one :)

Per-passenger labor for an airline flight is far less than per-passenger labor for a taxi ride. Since the cost of labor seems to be the determining factor in cost of most services nowadays, it makes perfect sense to me that the taxi would be more expensive than the flight.

I have a cousin who works in Norway often: she finds it expensive compared to LONDON!!

"Imagine how location theory should look when it is cheapest to travel far and costliest to make small moves."

But, as you note, the cab ride itself is more expensive than the flight. Presumably, you need to pay someone to get to the airport, so chances are, the full cost of traveling far (including getting to and from the airport) is still greater than the cost of traveling locally.

As the tone of some of the comments above suggests, public transport in Europe is one of their numerous (pagan) religions. Failure to make the required genuflection will attract about as much abuse as wearing a cross in an Arab marketplace.

The fact that most Europeans drive cars to all sorts of destinations on most days, as the mood takes them, just underlines the ritual nature of the requirement.

That train is spectacular, but it is a half century since I rode it.

Let me join the others in saying that you've really missed out by not taking the train from Oslo to Bergen. This is especially so at this time of year since it would only barely get dark at night making for a spectacular ride even if you rode at night. Try it on the way back if you can. (Also, the train from the airport to the middle of the city in Oslo is fast, convenient, and comparatively cheap. Why take a taxi at all? Are you on an expense account?

"Imagine how location theory should look when it is cheapest to travel far and costliest to make small moves."

On this vague topic: in the spirit of those maps that distort nations areas according to population, GDP etc, is there a map of the world that distorts distances according to travel time/cost?

In other words, if doing according to freight cost, New York and Tripoli would be very close (direct ocean shipping) while Tripoli and somewhere 500 km inland would be very far away (overland transport in Africa).

I just think it would do a lot to explain economic development.

Didn't I warn you about this in your post about Norwegian Prices?!? ;)

Jim is right. Also, taxes on the car are comparable to the danish ones we discussed earlier. I think that if the purpose of gas taxes is to reduce emissions, it's insanity to not tax air fuels similarly. But apparently that's not so easy.

Harald

I should add the welfare gains of taxing aviation fuel would be very large.

Although international airline flights are 3-5% of global greenhouse emissions, some estimates of the aerosol effect (basically the contrails, *at night* reflect heat back onto the earth, but in the day, they do not) place the actual impact on global warming at 10-15% ie implying world aviation is as big a contributor as the cement industry to global warming.

In addition, airline flights have large environmental costs (you can measure that via the differences in housing prices between neighbourhoods overflown by landing aircraft, and those not).

And of course the presence of cheap aviation means its impossible for ground based forms of transport, like trains and buses, to compete over 300-500km ranges without significant subsidy. It's cheaper to fly to Glasgow or Edinburgh from London than to take the train.

The US airline industry lobbyed hard against increased security restrictions before 9-11. After 9-11, they got substantial state aid. Not the people in the industry who were laid off, but the companies themselves: ie a bailout of the debt owners, shareholders and senior management.

And of course every nation has to have its little flag carrier, loss making or no, so we can see our Maple Leafs, etc. ,fly around the world with us.

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