Service supply and customer satisfaction in public transportation: The quality paradox

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - service level


Satisfaction measures obtained from citizens are frequently used in performance-based contracts due to their presumed link with company performance. However, few studies have actually examined the link between traveler satisfaction measures and objective performance measures in public transport. This research analyzes the relationship between the objective performance measures of public transport services and the satisfaction perceived by travelers. Data were collected in six different European cities. Three objective service performance measures were obtained for each city from the UITP Millennium Database. Three subjective satisfaction attribute measures were obtained from Benchmarking in European Service of Public Transport (BEST 2001), answered by 6,021 respondents in total. In addition to subjective attribute measures, overall satisfaction was also used as a subjective measure. Several co-relational analyses show that the relationship between satisfaction and service performance in public transport is far from perfect.


Permission to publish abstract given by Journal of Public Transportation.