Cities in Motion 2 – Timetable, Zones and Ticket Pricing – Developer diary #10

Co_Karoliina

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Oct 1, 2010
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In Cities in Motion 2, ticketing and fares have grown far more detailed to reflect the varied needs of citizens travelling between different areas of your city. With the larger map size, it was a nice addition to have more ticket types as well as price zones. The system now has 4 kinds of ticket for each vehicle type, and monthly passes for most variations.

Single fare tickets are for one trip without changing a vehicle. They are the cheapest tickets. The single fare ticket does not have a monthly version, but they’re fast and easy to use, and thus popular among citizens who don’t travel often.

One-zone tickets give passengers the freedom to travel within one zone and transfer freely between vehicles – such as taking a bus to the train station. Very useful on short commutes! The one zone ticket can also be purchased as a monthly pass.

Two-zone tickets are much the same as one zone tickets, but for a larger area. Also available as a monthly pass.

All-zones tickets are the most expensive, but a passenger with this premium fare can freely change vehicles in all zones and travel as far as he or she likes.

Every ticket price can be set separately, or you can raise or lower all prices of a vehicle type. This makes it easy to set the prices right and make larger adjustments to all prices, and then tweak individual fares more carefully. The system tells you if prices are too high or low, so it’s easy to find a nice comfort zone. The optimal price is calculated by looking at how many potential passengers choose to take their own car or walk just because of the ticket prices. Thus, the optimal ticket prices will change according to the routes available. If you have only a few lines that don't link together, only people who are going to those locations will be regular riders. A huge, city-wide system with more coverage will have much more accurate information of the ticket prices and more fluctuation, because almost all journeys can be made with public transport.

2013-01-15_00014.jpg

The zoning tool is used to paint different price zones on the map. If the tool has not been used, the entire map is just one zone. You can have up to four zones and each has a separate color. Zones are useful for large cities, or on large maps with multiple city centers. A map with four city centers could be divided so that each center is its own zone; that way, trips within each center area are cheap one-zone tickets or single fare tickets, but going from one center to another would be a two-zone trip or more. This lets longer journeys bring in more money, which is good because long journeys are more taxing on vehicles’ condition, and this will even out the cost. Large cities with only one center can have a zone system like the London underground system, with the innermost city area being one zone, and a few outer rings being their own zones. Clever use of zones can bring in the profit!


Another heavily requested feature was the inclusion of a better, more detailed means to control fleets. Timetables were an important part of games like Transport Tycoon, and we wanted to give the player more control in our sequel, so we created the day and night cycle – and with it, detailed timetables. They are an essential part of Cities in Motion 2, and actually one of the first features we identified as a “must-have” in the game.

All vehicle types have timetables, but they vary a bit according to passenger capacity. When a line is created, the game automatically creates a default timetable for it and counts how many vehicles it will need on average. The transport system will work with just these presets, but to optimize your system and make the most of your fleet, you will have to adjust the timetables to fit customers’ needs. Do you have a ferry line that leaves the pier every 45 minutes? Set the bus line that transfers there to drop off passengers at the pier only ten minutes before the ferry leaves, so commuters won’t have to wait for a long time. If passenger numbers rise due to your route being fast and efficient, you can make the ferry line go more often, and adjust the bus line the same way so the buses always arrive just before the boat leaves the pier. Short waiting times keep your customers happy and encourage them to use your services more often.

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There are different timetables for weekdays, Fridays, weekends, and rush hours. On all timetables, you can set when the timetable starts, ends, and how frequently vehicles are dispatched. Multiple timetables can be used simultaneously – that’s how the rush hour timetables basically work. When citizens leave for work in the morning and go back home in the evening, the rush hour timetable sends out a few extra vehicles to handle the increased amount of passengers. These extra vehicles go out automatically, no matter what the day’s timetable says, so you might have the regular timetable sending out a vehicle every half-hour from nine in the morning to nine in the evening, and the rush hour timetables sending out an extra vehicle at nine in the morning and another at five in the evening.

The Friday timetable is separated from normal weekdays so that it’s possible to respond to citizens’ greater need of leisure activities. Many of the citizens have free weekends, and want to enjoy the end of the work week at entertainment destinations. Traffic-wise, Fridays are in between a weekday and the weekend, so you’ll need to manage citizens who still travel to work during the day, but might not go straight home at night.

You can also save your own timetables and re-use them on any lines you choose, so when you find good timetable settings for long, smooth rides, you can easily save the settings and use them for all the lines you feel would benefit from them.

Timetables are an important part of Cities in Motion 2. Are you looking forward to tweaking your own timetables or will you go with the defaults?
 

kensternation

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Sep 28, 2011
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THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! For giving us zones and monthly passes. Also, great addition of the separate Friday schedule. It harkens back to the days of Trolley Parks and the need for trolley companies to make money during non-working hours.

I can't wait to see how detailed the schedules are and what happens when vehicles are late. *rubbing my hands together manically anticipating tweaking my schedules, and setting prices* Will there be off-peak and peak ticket pricing for single fare (aka a discounted round trip, for off peak?)

One more thing... Will citizens "cheat" and use a zone ticket to get where they are going, then use the same one to return? In other words, in theory a passenger gets on a bus with a zone ticket to go shopping, since they can transfer with it they do not give the ticket to the driver. Will they use that ticket for the return home after shopping, or are they honest and buy a second ticket?
 

unmerged(526885)

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All vehicle types have timetables, but they vary a bit according to passenger capacity. When a line is created, the game automatically creates a default timetable for it and counts how many vehicles it will need on average. The transport system will work with just these presets, but to optimize your system and make the most of your fleet, you will have to adjust the timetables to fit customers’ needs. Do you have a ferry line that leaves the pier every 45 minutes? Set the bus line that transfers there to drop off passengers at the pier only ten minutes before the ferry leaves, so commuters won’t have to wait for a long time. If passenger numbers rise due to your route being fast and efficient, you can make the ferry line go more often, and adjust the bus line the same way so the buses always arrive just before the boat leaves the pier. Short waiting times keep your customers happy and encourage them to use your services more often.

Wow, so engaging! :) Timetables are such a vital part of Cities in Motion 2, more so, I never thought much about the way buses and ferries can be compatible in such an efficient way! :D How planning a bus and a ferries depart can be more significant than first interpreted.
THANK YOU :) :) :) ! For the sophisticated gameplay!

Another thing: Thanks for adding the zoning tool; I'm pretty sure I was one of those who suggested it :D
 

co_martsu

Colossal Order CEO
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Aug 25, 2010
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It's so nice to hear you guys like it! Thank YOU for amazing feedback back in the day with Cities in Motion and now with CIM2 ;)

Will citizens "cheat" and use a zone ticket to get where they are going, then use the same one to return? In other words, in theory a passenger gets on a bus with a zone ticket to go shopping, since they can transfer with it they do not give the ticket to the driver. Will they use that ticket for the return home after shopping, or are they honest and buy a second ticket?

There are always those cheating passengers, but you can make sure your ticket inspectors are happy, so they are more efficient to catch these passengers. Also setting the ticket prices to a suitable level will result in more people willing to pay for the ride.
 

kensternation

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It's so nice to hear you guys like it! Thank YOU for amazing feedback back in the day with Cities in Motion and now with CIM2 ;)



There are always those cheating passengers, but you can make sure your ticket inspectors are happy, so they are more efficient to catch these passengers. Also setting the ticket prices to a suitable level will result in more people willing to pay for the ride.

You've really considered everything and listened to us. That is incredible! But I will take it as a 'no' to the round trip discount- maybe in a DLC.
 

Deville

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I like what I read and I am still excited for the release. I really appreciate that you actually listen to tons of feedback given on CiM and in this pre-release forum. :) Probably the main reason why I preordered the game.

A question about the coast visible in the first screen: It doesn't look very appealing to me. Will we be ably to change the textures of the terrain close to the water to something like "rocks" or "sand"? Maybe even add a few objects that fit to a coast? This is purely cosmetic, but it sorta caught my eye that there is just a six-lane street and nothing else where people could look over the water, a plaza or a wide boardwalk or something... Or is this purely the players decision and if he likes stuff like that he has to decorate it by himself?
 

Metropolitan

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Thanks for this great news Karoliina. Your article is well-written and very detailed.

I was just wondering, with all these options available, will it be possible to poll citizens in order to find out why they behave the way they do?

It would be really great if there would be a way to know the reasons why people don't take our network. Simple answers such as "too expensive", "too crowded" or "waiting time is too long" could really help us in determining our timetables and ticket pricing.

If that's not the case it's not that bad. I guess we could still be able to understand how the game mechanics work with time. :)
 

tal13s1n

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Have a question about the Cims choosing a line:

Do they choose a line, because it drives them to place A directly, but not in the next 2 hours, or do they choose the line, because there is a departure in 5mins going to A via B?

I´m asking, because it would be very interesting to build lines only for the weekend or the night time with longer routes.
As example, we have this kind of system in Trier (Germany). At the evening and on weekends, there are different and not so much lines driving through the whole city as the other (more) lines on workdays.
 

unmerged(376434)

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could you say "hold" a bus at a bus stop located adjacent to said ferry terminal in order to connect to an arriving ferry? That would be so cool! I can see myself staying up till 6am everyday playing this game the same way I played CIM1 for hours upon hours!!
 

Daros

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Finally a game which satisfies the geek in me :wub: I'm full on confidence in Colossal Order after seeing the quality of CIM and now that you've added real complexity to no. 2, you would have to have made some major boo-boos for this game not to be awesome.
 

Warkry777

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Timetables are such an important thing in a game like Cities in Motion i even wonder why they didn't implement it from the begining in the first game :p

Impatient to have my hands on it anyway, like many others.