Benchmarking Disaggregate Customer Satisfaction Scores of Bus Operators in Different Cities and Countries

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, operations - performance, organisation - performance, place - urban, planning - service improvement, planning - surveys, ridership - perceptions


urban bus, surveys, customer satisfaction, bus operators, customer expectation


Directly comparing the satisfaction of customers of urban bus operators in different cities and countries is methodologically challenging because of the differences in the surveys used, sample frames, response collection methods, and the possibility of cultural bias. Nonetheless, because of the importance of customer satisfaction, the members of the International Bus Benchmarking Group (IBBG) started a research project in 2009 to overcome those challenges. The objective was for bus operators to understand the relative performance in meeting their customers' expectations and to be able to target those areas in which they relatively underperform. Between 2009 and 2012, eight to 10 participating organizations annually posted identical surveys on their website home pages in the same period. This paper describes the survey and data normalization methodology developed in the IBBG that provides managers of these organizations with a comparable view of their customer satisfaction. The described methodology has been successfully tested in the bus industry but can also be applied to other industries for which there is a wish to benchmark customer satisfaction against other national and international peers.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, Washington, copyright remains with them.