Effect of a major network reform on bus transit satisfaction

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, place - urban, mode - bus, ridership - perceptions, planning - surveys, planning - methods


Public transport, Network reform, Multiannual customer surveys, SEM-MIMIC, SEM-MGA, Ordinal Probit


Before enduring a substantial network reform in a system, it is of utmost importance to understand if, how, and why the users’ perception of the system will be affected. In the PT literature, we find evidence about what drives users’ satisfaction. Still, past studies have utilised data that has been mostly retrieved from user surveys during periods where the network and its services were quite stable, or during an economic downturn, in contrast to facing a structural network transformation. Barcelona public bus company (TMB) reformed into a transfer based-network, the NXB (Nova Xarxa de Bus) since 2012. This reform allows discerning which operative, travel, and sociodemographic characteristics affect the users’ satisfaction and their priorities, during a major network reform. We use a three-year customer satisfaction survey (n = 12,511), for our study. Employing a structural equation (SEM) approach, with both numeric and ordinal Probit models, we assess whether critical variables from the bus network reform affect users’ satisfaction significantly. Following a two step-approach, initially an SEM-MIMIC model for the whole population, then a Multi-Group Analysis (MGA), we appraise for different satisfaction models across subpopulations. We propose a reflective latent variable to measure the socioeconomic status (SES), which resulted in significant and negative estimates towards satisfaction, as expected, in all models. Our most important result confirms that users value reliability over other latent satisfaction constructs. Besides the satisfaction constructs, users give an additional relevance to the NXB lines, indicating that intrinsically the users perceive added-value from these lines. Most of the transfers between buses and other transport modes do not affect bus-users satisfaction. Our results imply that efficiently designed transfer-based networks may be a suitable solution from users’ perspective.


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


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