Attitudes towards public transport in New Zealand

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - australasia, ridership - attitudes, ridership - behaviour, ridership - perceptions


attitudes, public transport, prejudice, social norms


towards public transport (PT) in New Zealand’s three largest cities (Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch) were examined in a cross-sectional survey of drivers. A measure of prejudice to PT was developed to assess the strength and nature of attitudinal differences. Auckland residents had the highest levels of PT prejudice while Wellington residents had the lowest, and these differences were not related to demographic differences between the samples. Direct contact with PT was associated with reduced levels of PT prejudice, but measures of indirect contact, beliefs about using PT, and environmental attitudes were stronger predictors of PT prejudice scores. Controlling for these variables resulted in the difference in PT prejudice levels between Wellington and Christchurch becoming non-significant, while the differences between Auckland and the other two cities remained. This suggests that the difference between Wellington and Christchurch was primarily based on social norms regarding PT prejudice, while quality of service was a factor in the difference between Auckland and the other two cities. It is suggested that campaigns promoting PT ridership should focus both on the quality of service and on presenting PT usage as socially normal.