Spatial and temporal variation of user satisfaction in public transport systems

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

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


User satisfaction, Perceived quality, Public transport, Best-worst analysis, Spatial and temporal variation


Surveys are a commonly applied method to establish user satisfaction levels with a public transport system. Regardless of the type of survey carried out and the methodology used, the studies usually present a time specific image of the service, showing the results in aggregate form or differentiating by lines and socio-economic characteristics of the users. However, satisfaction is not usually analysed as a variable with temporal or spatial variation. This research presents a case study applied to the city of Santander (Cantabria, Spain) in which an analysis is made about the evolution of satisfaction with the service over a day on various lines that integrate the city's public transport system. At the same time, it analyses how this perception changes at different points in the city. The results show that overall user satisfaction with the service decreases at peak times of the day, experiences more variations in lines with lower frequencies and can depend on the direction and location of the trip. In addition, some attributes were more relevant than others, also showing significant differences in their importance at different time slots and bus lines. These results can help to improve transport services, showing the spatial-temporal differences that exist in the evaluations carried out by users.


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


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