Drivers of customer satisfaction with public transport services


Arnoud Mouwen

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - reliability, operations - frequency, place - urban, ridership - attitudes


Public transport, Satisfaction, Weights of service attributes, User segments


This paper aims to improve the understanding of the drivers of customer satisfaction with public transport (PT). The methodology provides a relevant contribution to the previous studies since it highlights the complex interaction between the level and composition of satisfaction, negative social safety experiences (NSSEs), urban settings, and the PT mode used.

Overall, PT users see the service attributes on-time performance, travel speed, and service frequency as the most important, followed by personnel/driver behaviour and vehicle tidiness. A generic policy aimed at achieving these attributes may yield favourable results with respect to satisfaction.

Further, we demonstrate the influence of differences in customer characteristics on satisfaction. A policy aimed at increasing the service frequency and putting new vehicles into operation will probably lead specifically to more satisfied older people (>65), passengers travelling by regional train, and people living in dense urban areas.

These findings may be of help to PTAs intending to exert an influence on the actions of PT operators, for instance by using them as a measuring rod in incentive contracts.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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