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The quality of service desired by public transport users

Luigi dell'Olio, Angel Ibeas and Patricia Cecin

Transport Policy, 2011, vol. 18, issue 1, 217-227

Abstract: This article describes the methodology used to study the quality of service desired by users of a public transport system. The desired quality is different from the perceived quality because it does not represent the daily experiences of the users, but rather what they desire, hope for or expect from their public transport system. This is why it is important to study the desired quality, knowledge of which gives local authorities the background information for personalised marketing policies based on the user's requirements rather than their daily perceptions. The methodology goes through several stages, such as the use of focus groups to choose the most important variables for the users, the design and use of unlabelled stated preferences surveys and the calibration of discrete choice models. All of these help determine the weight of the most relevant variables. The analysis is carried out with different categories of users and potential users (those people not currently using public transport). Waiting time, cleanliness and comfort are shown to be the public transport variables that users most valued, but the degree to which they are valued varies according to the category of user. Variables such as driver kindness, bus occupancy and journey time are generally given less weight. The first two vary little by user category, but some variability appears for journey time. For potential users the more important variables when defining expected quality from public transport are waiting time, journey time and above all, level of occupancy. They consider the other variables to be of little importance when defining an efficient public transport service. In order to improve service quality and attract more passengers to public transport in general, the application of this methodology provides the authorities and operating companies with useful information to plan personalised marketing policies specifically directed at different categories of users and potential users of public transport.

Keywords: Desired; quality; Stated; preference; survey; Efficient; design; Multinomial; logit; Focus; groups (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011
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