Title

Passenger Experience with Quality-Enhanced Bus Service: The Tyne and Wear 'Superoute' Services

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2010

Subject Area

planning - route design, planning - service quality, mode - bus

Keywords

Tyne and Wear (England), Service quality, Quality of service, Passengers, Passenger service quality, Partnerships, Choice models, Bus usage, Bus travel

Abstract

Quality bus partnerships (QBPs) between local authorities and operators have been introduced in the UK as a way to increase bus patronage. This paper uses a sample of passengers in the Tyne and Wear area to investigate the role that enhanced service quality has in improving the experience of bus travel. A generalized ordered choice (GOC) model that accounts for preference heterogeneity through random parameters, as well as heteroscedasticity in unobserved variance, and random parameterization of thresholds, is implemented to identify sources of influence on the overall experience of bus travel in the presence and absence of the quality-enhanced treatment of service. The GOC model is contrasted with a standard ordered logit model, and the marginal effects associated with the preferred GOC model are derived for each influencing attribute, taking into account the various ways in which each influence contributes to the utility associated with each level of bus experience. The paper supports a view that the introduction of quality improvements, via a QBP, does contribute non-marginally to an increase in a positive bus experience, and signals a way to grow patronage. Knowing which attributes successfully deliver a more positive experience allows resources to be more effectively allocated.