Investigating the determinants to retain spurious-loyalty passengers: A data-fusion based approach

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, place - asia, ridership - attitudes, ridership - behaviour, ridership - perceptions, ridership - modelling, technology - passenger information, planning - surveys, planning - service improvement


Public transportation loyalty, Data fusion, User segment, Structural equation model, Smart card data


Sustaining passengers’ loyalty towards bus service has been regarded as the key to secure its market share. However, passengers are not homogenous in terms of behavioral loyalty or attitudinal loyalty. Therefore, the determinants to retain loyalty may differ across each group of passengers. This study proposed a data-fusion based clustering method to segment passengers. An empirical study of Xiamen, China was given. Specifically, by fusing the smart card data and the survey data, the method measured passengers’ behavioral and attitudinal loyalty simultaneously. As a result, spurious-loyalty passengers were identified, who were characterized as behaviorally loyal but attitudinal disloyal; they held the most potential to shift to other transport modes. In order to retain the spurious-loyalty passengers, a novel model framework was built to investigate the determinants of driving them to continue using public transportation. The results indicated that the passengers’ satisfaction fully mediated between service value and attitudinal loyalty, as found in previous studies. Service value was unveiled to exert a significant and positive impact on predicting the passengers’ satisfaction and attitudinal loyalty. However, service value was not only determined by the passengers’ utilitarian value (perceived service quality), but also involved with their hedonic value (emotional dependence on public transportation which came from the passengers’ long-term involvement); hedonic value was demonstrated highly correlated with utilitarian value. In addition, we justified that utilitarian value could be separately measured by the quality of basic service attributes and the quality of value-added service attributes; they were revealed to exhibit non-linear and heterogeneous effects on the passengers’ satisfaction. Moreover, the index score of variables was employed to indicate the specific service attributes that needed to be improved to sustain the targeted passengers; practical suggestions to the specific direction of improvement were provided for transport sectors and public transport operators.


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


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