Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - service quality, planning - surveys, organisation - management, mode - bus, mode - rail


Surveys, Service quality, Rail transit, Quality of service, Performance, Passenger service quality, Intracity bus transportation, Improvements, Customers, Customer satisfaction, Chicago Transit Authority, Bus transit


A random-digit-dial telephone Customer Satisfaction Survey of more than 2,400 Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) riders who had ridden CTA in the week before the survey was conducted in November 1997. A follow-up to a similar 1995 baseline survey, the survey revealed significant improvement in several key performance areas since 1995 for both bus and rail transit. Most of the improved satisfaction with transit service attributes could be directly tied to two types of service improvement launched between 1995 and 1997. First, an interdepartmental technical committee responded to the 1995 survey results to identify top-priority service improvement needs. Five action areas were inaugurated, with varying degrees of success. Second, three major ongoing agency initiatives--automated fare control implementation, a station improvement program, and administrative cost cutting--also addressed major concerns raised by customers. The relationship between these transit management efforts to improve customer satisfaction and the results of both surveys is described in terms of both the specific individual service attributes addressed (42 to 45 individual attributes) and nine different, broader performance dimensions developed to group these attributes. When asked about overall satisfaction with CTA, respondents showed a 9% increase in the share of those riders who were very satisfied between 1995 and 1997 (22 to 31%), increasing the share satisfied with CTA to 81%. Small but statistically significant improvements in customer satisfaction were achieved for both bus and rail modes, involving nine individual service attributes for bus and seven attributes for rail.