Attitudes to public transport in New Zealand: Findings from a combined longitudinal and cross-sectional study

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

ridership - attitudes


This paper presents the findings from a long-term study of attitudes to public transport (PT) in New Zealand. The study consists of two parts; a cross-sectional survey of drivers from New Zealand’s three largest urban areas (Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch; driver sample), and a panel-study of 17-year-olds from across New Zealand (youth sample). As well as PT attitudes, other measured variables include environmental attitudes, norms regarding PT use, direct and indirect exposure to PT, and use of PT.

PT attitudes of the youth sample were more negative for 2008 than 2007. Regional differences in PT attitudes were found for the driver sample, with Aucklanders exhibiting the most negative attitudes and Wellingtonians the least. Subjective norms were related to PT attitudes for both samples and for all years. However, PT attitudes were related to PT use for the driver sample only.

The main conclusion is that subjective norms need to be considered when attempting to increase PT ridership, as improving the service may not encourage people to use PT if the prevailing norms are against PT use.