The New York Pizza and Subway Ride Connection

By Anupum Pant

This is funny and interestingly true at the same time. According to Eric M. Bram of New York, there’s an unspoken rough law that says – there’s a connection between the price trends of a pizza* and a subway ride ticket in the New York city.

Their prices have remained more or less same for about 50 years now, moving up and down together! If one goes up, the other has been seen to move in the same direction too. The trend has been observed to be more or less valid for the last half century. 

Don’t ask why. I say, just go with the flow.

It was first observed in the year 1980 by Eric M. Bram. He observed that there was an uncanny similarity in the price of a slice of a pizza and a subway token in the year 1960, in the NYC – Both 15 cents.

In the 70s pizza started costing about 35 cents. So did the subway token! and so on…

Fairly recently, in the year 2002, when the price of pizza was about $2.00, and the price of a subway token was $1.50, it was predicted that the price of the subway ticket would rise. And as the “law” states, it did!

Again in the year 2005, the price of pizza went up to $2.25 and it was predicted that the subway token price would rise. It did again!

Once again in the year 2007. In 2013 the fare moved to $2.50, again just after the average pizza price had risen to the same price. No one probably knows why.

With 50 years of record, I’m pretty sure that the trend is going to keep up. Some one from the future, living in New York could confirm it in the comments section below.

So, if someone starts mass producing pizzas, floods the pizza market in the NYC, and drops the price, will the Subway ticket drop too? Someone should try that. 

*When we say pizza here, specifically, we are talking about a plain tomato + mozarella + crust pizza only.

A Mathematical Guide to Optimize Pizza Buying

By Anupum Pant

The logical engineer in me has always paid a lot of attention to how well my money is being put to use, or if something I bought was well worth it. So, before buying anything, I usually love to add in a basic mathematical calculation that would ensure the best logical use of my money. I used to do the same when I was studying engineering and had come up with a handful of tricks, which enabled me to eat the best food, in best quantities at the lowest prices.

Optimized Pizza Buying

Till date, I had relied on calculations for individual joints to buy the pizza that gave me the best value for money (irrespective of what my stomach could fit). In other words, I had never used statistical methods, as I always went to only 2 or 3 pizza places and never felt a need to do it statistically.

So yesterday, while skimming through blogs on NPR, I came across a post by Quoctrun Bui, where he had calculated the best valued pizza size using statistical methods. 

The final findings of his study based on 74,476 prices from 3,678 pizza places were condensed into a graph which depicted data as follows (here is the link to the article for an interactive version of the graph).

pizza guide


The above graph plots 74,476 data points to find the pizza size that gives you the best value for money. The y-axis plots price-per-square-inch – the lesser price-per-square-inch you pay, the better deal you score.

This basically means that buying the largest pizza gets the most value out of your money. As the size increases the value for money increases or the price you pay per-square-inch of pizza decreases. – Statistically speaking.

Adding value

I felt a need to add value to the study by finding how well ‘buying a large pizza’ to get the best value works in India.  So, I selected a popular joint Dominos (where I go all the time) for the test. I dug out their menu (probably an old one) to see if buying the large pizza always works in India. Here is a record of price you pay per square inch at Dominos for various sizes and categories of pizzas. (Click the image to see a better version)

pizza buying guide dominos
I did not pay much attention. Please point if there is a mistake.

Conclusion (Dominos India)

  • No, always buying the large pizza clearly is not the best option at Dominos in India.
  • A small pizza is the best option (economically) if you are buying from the categories: Simply veg, Veg I or Simply Non-veg.
  • A large pizza is the best option (economically) if you are buying from the categories: Veg II, Non-Veg I or Non-Veg II
  • Never go for the small Non-veg II pizza. It is the worst choice you can make.
  • Never ever get a medium pizza from any category!

I’d love to see someone doing the same thing for other popular pizza joints. Do get back to me if you have done it. I’ll add it to the article as an update.


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