J Pepper
A Ray

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - surveys, mode - rail


Rail transit, New service, New Jersey Transit, Market surveys, Level of service, Improvements, Customer service, Customer satisfaction


NJ TRANSIT routinely sets service quality goals, monitors them, and uses the results to improve service. To support this business practice, NJ TRANSIT conducts customer satisfaction surveys of rail customers to understand customers' needs and their level of satisfaction. On June 10, 1996, NJ TRANSIT initiated new rail service on its Morris and Essex rail lines called MidTOWN DIRECT. To assess the regional impacts of this major transit investment and to gain a better understanding of customers' response to the new service, NJ TRANSIT conducted a survey of riders that included a customer satisfaction component. This study provided an opportunity for NJ TRANSIT to test the impact on customer satisfaction of introducing a new service option in a corridor that had well-established rail service. The study also provided insights into designing customer satisfaction measurement techniques for application during and after the implementation of significant new service offerings. To determine satisfaction levels of customers regarding the new service on the Morris and Essex Lines, and to determine whether the key drivers of satisfaction had changed, several statistical analyses were conducted. Several significant findings resulted from this customer satisfaction study. Several components of the MidTOWN DIRECT rail service required fine-tuning, especially with regard to frequency, on-time performance, and mechanical reliability. Although the satisfaction ratings were lower than initially expected, the availability of key driver satisfaction data can provide fast targeted direction for service improvements that will pay the greatest dividends with customers.