Users' satisfaction evolution of a metropolitan transit system in a context of economic downturn

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, place - europe, ridership - perceptions, planning - surveys, planning - service quality, economics


Bus transit, customer satisfaction surveys, economic crisis, passengers' perceptions, service quality, structural equation model


As the worldwide financial crisis is directly connected to the transport sector, public transport systems become a central player to support economic recovery. Transit services are facing a number of challenges as a consequence of this severe crisis. However, each attribute characterizing transit services has evolved in a different manner, thereby raising some chances and opportunities at some specific areas. This study investigates the evolution of service quality on a metropolitan transit system under economic crisis conditions. We used data from three customer satisfaction surveys (2008, 2011, and 2014) conducted at the bus transit service of the metropolitan area of Granada (Spain). Principal component analysis (PCA) and structural equation modeling (SEM) approaches were applied. PCA results show that the attributes describing the service were grouped into two levels of dimensions according to their impact on users' overall satisfaction (Transport Service Factors and Comfort and Convenience Factors). Subsequently, following a competing model strategy, the existing relationships between users' satisfaction and perception of service quality dimensions were ascertained. Finally, three SEMs were calibrated, one for each year under study, and were subjected to a multigroup analysis to test for equivalence among the three models. The outcomes show that fare of the ticket has lost importance as the financial crisis has become more noticeable and that Transport Service Factors had lower influence and users' satisfaction in 2011, when downturn was more intense.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Taylor&Francis, copyright remains with them.