Transitory Optimism: Changes in Passenger Perception Following Bus Service Improvement over Time

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, mode - bus, ridership - perceptions, technology - passenger information, technology - automatic vehicle monitoring, planning - service quality, planning - surveys, operations - scheduling


transit, service quality, user perceptions, stop-level data, satisfaction, automated vehicle location, automatic passenger count systems


Passengers' perception and satisfaction have long been seen and used as important measures of transit service quality and attractiveness. This research tried to understand better transit passengers' perception of the implementation of various improvement strategies in bus service over time. The study analyzed three surveys of bus user perceptions conducted over a period of 3 years. The study also used stop-level data collected from the Société de Transport de Montréal's automated vehicle location and automatic passenger count systems and bus schedules in Montreal, Canada, to measure the actual changes in service. Descriptive statistics and regression models were used for a better understanding of the differences between perceptions and reality. The implementation of various strategies had a limited impact on the short-term overestimation by users of their waiting time benefits, whereas the implementation had a long-term impact on their travel time overestimation. This study can be of interest to marketing and planning departments at transit agencies, because it provides them with new insights into passengers' perception and satisfaction.


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