Enjoying loyalty: The relationship between service quality, customer satisfaction, and behavioral intentions in public transit

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, planning - surveys, planning - service quality, ridership - perceptions, ridership - modelling, ridership - behaviour


Satisfaction, Loyalty, Structural equation modeling, Public transit, Service attributes


The relationship between customer satisfaction and loyalty has recently received international attention as transit agencies aim to identify ways to increase ridership. Improvements in perceived service quality increase the attractiveness of transit, and therefore lead to growing patronage. The present paper examines how transit users' perceptions of service quality and user satisfaction influence loyalty. Using information from five years of customer satisfaction questionnaires collected by two Canadian transit providers, this study attempts to better understand the complexities of several factors influencing passenger satisfaction and behavioral intentions. It uses a Structural Equation Modeling approach to develop a series of models that reflects the different groups using transit; captive riders (users who are dependent on transit), choice riders (car owners who choose to take transit), and captive-by-choice riders (users who are dependent on transit but could own a car) are accounted for. The findings from this study are used to define areas where transit agencies can develop specific strategies in order to benchmark user satisfaction with the aim of growing patronage among the different groups. Insight into the perceptions of passengers provides useful information that can help transit agencies understand what inspires customers' perceptions of satisfaction and loyalty in general.


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


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