Pricing strategies for public transport


Neil Douglas

Document Type


Publication Date


Subject Area

place - australasia, mode - bus, mode - rail, literature review - literature review, planning - surveys, planning - service quality, ridership - perceptions, infrastructure - stop, infrastructure - station, infrastructure - vehicle, economics - value of time, economics - willingness to pay, economics - pricing


public transport service quality, rating surveys, stated preference, value of time, willingness to pay


The study looked at the trade-off between price and quality for bus and train users in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington. After reviewing the literature, a survey of 12,557 bus and rail passengers on over 1,000 bus and train services was undertaken in 2012/13 using a stated preference (SP) and a rating questionnaire. The SP questionnaire presented a set of pair-wise choices. The rating questionnaire enabled valued vehicle and stop/station quality to be valued on a percentage scale from 0% (very poor) to very good (100%). The vehicle ratings were compared with ‘objective’ data such as bus age; the rail station ratings were compared with objective such as ‘years since last refurbishment’; and the bus stop ratings were compared with perceived data on facility provision such as seating. A set of explanatory rating models were then developed, which in combination with the SP results, enabled vehicle and stop/station quality to be valued in terms of fare and in-vehicle time.


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