   SEARCH HOME Math Central Quandaries & Queries  Question from Heather: On the bus question you answered, what would be the fixed rate? Is that the rate per person or is that also the base rate? ( cost of empty bus)? Hi Heather,

The question Stephen solved in the page you reference was

Problem: A bus company took a tour bus on the ferry when there were 30 people aboard. The ferry charged the bus company $\$180.$The following week, the bus had 50 people on board and the ferry charged them$\$220.$ How much is the "base rate" for the empty bus? How much does each person cost? Show this using y = mx + b form.

Stephen's solution began

Let x = the number of people on the bus
Let y = the total cost for the bus with its passengers to use the ferry.

and he arrived at the answer

$y = 2x + 120.$

In this expression if $x = 0,$ that is there are no passengers then the cost is $\$120$so the cost for an empty bus to use the ferry is$\$120.$ If $x = 1$ then the cost is $120 + 2 = 122$ dollars and if $x = 2$ then the cost is $120 + 4 = 124$ dollars and so on. The number 2 in the equation $y = 2x + 120$ is the additional cost per person in dollars. Thus the "fixed" cost is $\$120,$fixed because it doesn't depend on the number of passengers and$\$2$ is the additional cost per person.

I hope this helps,
Penny       * Registered trade mark of Imperial Oil Limited. Used under license. Math Central is supported by the University of Regina and the Imperial Oil Foundation.