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Sustainable Development

Sust. Dev. 18, 5161 (2010)


Published online 21 May 2009 in Wiley InterScience
(www.interscience.wiley.com) DOI: 10.1002/sd.412

Public Transport Service Quality


and Sustainable Development:
a Community Stakeholder Perspective
Linda Too* and George Earl
Mirvac School of Sustainable Development, Bond University, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia

ABSTRACT
A key element in achieving sustainabilitys triple-bottom-line goals is a good public transport system. Many studies have shown the relationship between effective public transport
services and sustainable development at the city level. The purpose of this study is to
introduce and use a SERVQUAL framework to measure public transport services within a
master-planned community in Australia. The stakeholder survey ndings suggest a wide
gap between community expectations of public transport services and the actual service
quality provided. This was consistent across all commuter groups. In particular, the ndings
have been useful in shedding broad light on the areas where improvements are needed
most, i.e. responsiveness and reliability of services, to encourage greater use of public
transport within the community level. Copyright 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP
Environment.
Received 5 August 2008; revised 3 February 2009; accepted 10 February 2009
Keywords: service quality; public transport; sustainable development; stakeholder; community

Introduction

USTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IS TODAY NO LONGER AN OPTION BUT A KEY GUIDING PRINCIPLE FOR PUBLIC AND PRIVATE

developers alike. At the forefront of the sustainability agenda is the creation of a sustainable public transport network. Bithas and Christofakis (2006) argued that the accumulation of humans and activities in
the urban space leads to adverse environmental, economic and social impacts. Some of the severely alarming malfunctions include atmospheric pollution, creation of uid and solid waste, trafc congestion, criminality
and social alienation. The provision of good public transport services is critical in alleviating these negative impacts
and achieving sustainabilitys triple-bottom-line goals, i.e. environmental, economic and social goals (Bithas and
Christofakis, 2006).
In particular, current research suggests a strong link between public transport services and social sustainability
(e.g. Schlossberg and Zimmerman, 2003, Dennis and Liberman, 2004). Hill and Duggan (2006) illustrated the
importance of this relationship through a case study of Oakgrove Millennium Community in Milton Keynes, UK.
The authors noted the need for a high quality, integrated public transport plan in order for the community to be

* Correspondence to: Linda Too, Associate Professor, Mirvac School of Sustainable Development, Bond University, Gold Coast, QLD 4229,
Australia. E-mail: ltoo@bond.edu.au
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52

L. Too and G. Earl

a beacon of environmental and social sustainability. Increasing congestion and car journey times often weakens
the social network of residents and hence the authors argued the importance of community efciency over car
efciency. Similarly, Williams and Dair (2007) argued for a good public transport network to positively shape
sustainable behaviours in neighbourhood-scale developments.
However, the truth is that good public transport service quality remains an elusive dream for many cities and
communities. Low and Gleeson (2003) observed that truly sustainable transportation has not been achieved in any
region of the world. There are obviously many contributing factors to this unsatisfactory and grim state of transport.
Banister (2005) in his book Unsustainable Transport: City Transport in the New Century listed the following as major
policy inuences on transportation: institutions and organizations, technology, nance, urban forms and culture.
Public transport must be perceived as an attractive alternative to the car. As such, good public transport, i.e. that
provides comfort, convenience and reliability, is the key to a more sustainable future.
Roseland (1998) opined that sustainable development begins at the local community level. In this regard, he
recommends a bottom-up over top-down approaches and a local rather than a regional, national and international
focus. His views are shared by Tengstroem (2003), who identies intense communications and constructive conicts between citizens and politicians, as well as more citizen involvement, as necessary preconditions in making
urban transport more sustainable. Similarly, Hine (2003) urged a reinterpretation of the interaction between land
use and transport as well as additional interactions with society and lifestyles.
However, Hine (2003) conceded that, while policies are important, there must be also be adequate level of commitment to delivery. Hine in his report of the Royal Town Planning Institutes conference to review the delivery
of PPG13 policy since the 2001 revision noted that the overall mood of the conference might have been summed
up as nice policies, shame about the delivery. It was therefore suggested that more attention be focused on lifestyle
choice, i.e. the needs of the community in terms of transport.
Keirstead and Leach (2008) introduced the concept of a service-niche approach as an alternative framework to
represent an urban system that would inform appropriate sustainable policy responses. Rather than using indicators primarily to track resource ows (as in an urban metabolism approach), the service niche model focuses on
a populations demand for energy services and then considers how these services lead to resource consumption
and consequent impacts (Keirstead and Leach, 2008). A major energy consuming activity is transportation and
this is in part driven by the state of public transport services.
Finland is arguably a leader in sustainable development and their sustainability indicators have always included
the measurement of public transport service quality (Lyytimaki and Rosenstrom, 2008). The establishment of a
rigorous measurement of existing public transport service quality from a user communitys perspective is a rst
step that may shed broad light on the areas of deciency and inform the strategy for achieving a sustainable public
transport network. However, the measures of public transport service quality have been piecemeal. The items of
measurement often relate to the general satisfaction level with public transport. The non-targeted approach provides little insight for improving public transport services and impedes the achievement of sustainability goals.
Consequently, the research questions for this paper include (a) is there a framework for measuring public transport
service quality and (b) what are the top priorities for improving user satisfaction levels with public transport?
Against this backdrop, the objectives of this paper are rst to introduce a framework for measuring public
transport service quality, and second to identify the key performance requirements for public transport services
by applying the framework to a master-planned community within Australia.
The next section of the paper will introduce the framework for measuring public transport service quality.
Following this, the research methodology used in this study will be outlined. The results and ndings of the
study are then reported. The implications for managers of public transport services are discussed in the conclusion
of this paper.

Framework for Measuring Public Transport Service Quality


A SERVQUAL framework was utilized to measure service quality levels of public transport in this study. SERVQUAL
is a multi-item instrument for measuring service quality. This instrument was rst developed by Parasuraman
Copyright 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment

Sust. Dev. 18, 5161 (2010)


DOI: 10.1002/sd

Public Transport Service Quality and Sustainable Development

53

et al. (1985) through an exploratory study of marketing academics. The outcome was a 22-item scale that has
received widespread application in the research of service quality (e.g. Deveraj et al., 2002; Zeithaml et al., 2002;
Lai, 2006). The 22 items in the SERVQUAL scale were essentially framed around ve dimensions of service
quality, and these are
tangibles:
reliability:
responsiveness:
assurance:
empathy:

physical facilities and equipment


ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately
willingness to help customers and provide prompt service
knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to inspire trust and condence
caring, individualized attention the rm provides its customers.

According to Parasuraman et al. (1985), service quality as perceived by customers stems from a comparison of
their expectations with their perceptions of the actual service performance. The SERVQUAL instrument requires
customers to rate their expectations and perceptions of service quality on each of the 22 items. A SERVQUAL
score is obtained by subtracting customers expectation score from their perception scores (P E) on the 22
items.
The SERVQUAL instrument was subsequently empirically tested and validated through a later study by
Parasuraman et al. (1988). The robustness of the instrument was reinforced through the numerous studies that
followed across various industries applying the SERVQUAL framework. For example, physicians in private practice
(Brown and Swartz, 1989), university (Kettinger and Lee, 1994), web service (Aladwani and Palvia, 2002), airline
services (Gilbert and Wong, 2003) and electronic business (Lai, 2006).
However, several studies also prompted debates concerning the application of SERVQUAL. Lai (2006) chronicles these contentions: dimensionality (Carman, 1990), the reliability and validity of difference-score formulation
(Babakus and Boller, 1992) and the interpretation and operationalization of expectations (Teas, 1993). Notwithstanding these issues, the developers of the SERVQUAL instrument had also embarked on several other studies
following their seminal work in 1995 to test and provide additional evidence to reafrm the soundness of the
SERVQUAL instrument (Parasuraman et al., 1991, 1993, 1994).
Gilbert and Wong (2003) noted that, although SERVQUAL has been widely used to measure service quality
across numerous industries, the contexts differ and hence an adaptation of SERVQUAL is needed. The original
SERVQUAL scale should only serve as a basic skeleton that requires modications to suit the specic requirements
of that service being assessed. Similarly, the developers of SERVQUAL themselves, i.e. Parasuraman et al. (1991),
also suggested that the SERVQUAL instruments should be revised and rened to t a wide range of contexts,
keeping intact the basic structure of the instrument.
In this regard, this study has modied the original SERVQUAL instrument for the purpose of measuring the
service quality of public transport. An 11-item scale was developed based on four, rather than ve, dimensions of
service quality. The empathy dimension was dropped from the scale since individualized attention to customers
was not particularly applicable in the context of public transport. The 11-item scale is reported in Table 1.

Research Methodology
This study on community response to public transport was conducted within a master-planned community in
Gold Coast, Australia. Varsity Lakes is a privately developed township covering 343 hectares and comprising 3000
dwellings together with other recreational, commercial and educational facilities. It was rst launched in 1999
and the project is estimated to be completed in 2010. The master-plan was designed to deliver an inclusive community based on a live, learn, work, play philosophy. The aim is to build a sustainable community including
7800 residents, 4000 students and approximately 4500 employees by the year 2010 (Deln Lend Lease, 2006).
The current population stands at around 6000 people. This study provides a glimpse of the travel behaviours,
public transport needs and assessment of public transport service quality of four main groups of commuters within
Varsity Lakes education, business, general community and visitors.
Copyright 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment

Sust. Dev. 18, 5161 (2010)


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L. Too and G. Earl


Tangibles
Buses are clean and comfortable
Seats are available on most trips
Bus stops are conveniently located
Responsiveness
Buses are value for money
Bus information is easily obtained
Bus route is not lengthy
Buses are frequent
Reliability
Buses are punctual
Bus information is correct and updated
Assurance
Drivers are helpful and courteous
I feel safe during my bus journey

Table 1. Public transport service quality dimensions

The survey was conducted via an on-line mode to take advantage of developments in modern information technology. The decision was made based on several considerations. First, an on-line survey saves time and cost in
preparing a survey pack, which would include a cover letter, printed questionnaire and reply-paid return envelope.
Second, an on-line survey circumvents the problem of long turn-around time. Completed surveys are collected
almost instantly. Third, an on-line survey suits the demographic prole of commuters within Varsity Lakes. The
relatively young population of commuters will have little difculty in completing an electronic survey. Fourth,
independent completion of the survey without an interviewer minimizes the problem of interviewer bias. Fifth,
on-line surveys are useful for surveying several target groups at the same time without having to design separate
questionnaires for each group (although a longer time may be required for the initial set-up of the electronic
questionnaire). The hyperlinks that can be created in an electronic survey allow respondents to click on a link and
be directed to questions relevant to them. Finally, on-line surveys are favoured because they are non-intrusive. The
target population is invited to visit a website to participate in the survey. Participants therefore retain control over
the decision to participate and when to participate without external pressure.
A major challenge with surveys is low response rate. To encourage greater participation in the survey, a communication and promotion strategy was promptly formulated for each target group. These include sending
reminder e-mails, putting up posters at prominent community locations, mentioning the study in the community
newsletter, active links on the community website and a lucky draw for participation in the survey.
There are two main sections in the questionnaire. The rst section asks questions relating to travel mode, frequency and distance. The second section draws respondents into assessing the service quality of their regular
public transport mode/s. The choices include bus and train.
With the above measures in place, the survey was launched using web-based software, SurveyMonkey, on 29
March 2007. The survey was concluded on 31 May 2007 and a total of 612 responses were received, of which 604
were completed surveys.

Prole of Respondents
63% of the total response was received from the education group. The business group made up 20% of the total
response. Finally, the general community and visitors contributed 11 and 6% of the total response respectively.
Figure 1 below graphically illustrates the prole of respondents by public transport user group.
Copyright 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment

Sust. Dev. 18, 5161 (2010)


DOI: 10.1002/sd

Public Transport Service Quality and Sustainable Development


70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%

55

63%

20%
11%

6%

rs
ity
to
un
si
m
Vi
m
Co
al
er
en
G
ss
ne
si
Bu
n
io
at
uc
Ed
Profile of respondents

Figure 1. Profile of respondents by public transport user group

35%

33%

30%

24%

25%

20%

20%

15%

15%
10%

7%

5%

1%

0%

to

to

to

to

to

65

64

54

44

34

24

ov

Ab

55

45

35

25

18

Respondents by age

Figure 2. Profile of respondents by age group

Figure 2 shows that more than 50% of the respondents fall within the under 35 age group. The 3554 age group
made up 35% of total respondents while only 8% of respondents were of the 55+ age group.
There were slightly more female respondents than male respondents in the total sample. Females made up 55%
of total respondents and male contributions were at 45%. Of the total number of respondents, 45% were residents
of Varsity Lakes and 55% were non-residents.

Survey Results
An 11-item scale was developed to measure the service quality of public transport (bus and train) within Varsity
Lakes. The 11 items were framed around the key dimensions of service quality such as tangibles, reliability, responsiveness and assurance. Two sets of the 11 items were formulated. The rst set was to measure perceived levels of
service quality (P). The same set of questions was then rephrased to inquire commuters expectations of service
Copyright 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment

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DOI: 10.1002/sd

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L. Too and G. Earl

quality (E). Rating the 11 items on a seven-point scale according to their perceived and expected service quality
levels, a SERVQUAL service gap score is obtained by subtracting the expectation score from perception score
(P E). There are then three possible outcomes:
where P E > 0, this implies more than satisfactory level of service quality
where P E = 0, this implies satisfactory level of service quality
where P E < 0, this implies less than satisfactory level of service quality
In addition, the one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) statistical technique was used to test for signicant differences in the mean scores from each group of commuters (and therefore difference in attitude towards public
transport service levels among the four commuter groups). The data are tested based on a 0.05 signicance level.
This provides 95% condence level in the conclusion we make regarding differences in attitudes among the groups.
Where the signicance level is less than 0.05, we reject our null hypothesis that the means of the groups are equal.
In simple terms, this implies that there is a signicant difference in the attitudes toward public transport service
level among the four groups of commuters. A signicance level score greater than 0.05 means that no signicant
difference in attitude exists among the four groups.

Bus
The overall average score for bus commuters perceived level of service quality is 4.14 out of a possible score of 7.
Commuters were then asked to rate their expectations of bus service quality. The average score for this is 6.41.
Given that the expectation score is greater than the perception score, the overall bus service quality is less than
satisfactory.
Based on the results in Table 2, the following is a discussion of the detailed scores for each dimension of bus
service quality. This would highlight areas of deciency and approval.
Out of the four criteria of service quality, bus services within Varsity Lakes scored the best in tangibles, i.e. the
hardware, given the smallest negative score. Specically, bus services did best in ensuring that seats were available
on most trips for the average commuter.
Commuters indicated that the bus services provided within Varsity Lakes have the most room for improvement
in terms of reliability, given its largest negative score. In particular, the least satisfactory areas were bus frequency
and punctuality.

Service quality dimensions

Tangibles
Buses are clean and comfortable
Seats are available on most trips
Bus stops are conveniently located
Responsiveness
Buses are value for money
Bus information is easily obtained
Bus route is not lengthy
Buses are frequent
Reliability
Buses are punctual
Bus information is correct and updated
Assurance
Drivers are helpful and courteous
I feel safe during my bus journey

Ave. perception
score (P)

Ave. expectation
score (E)

Service quality
=PE

5.19
5.17
5.27
5.13
3.65
4.76
3.71
3.73
2.41
2.94
2.62
3.26
4.75
4.21
5.29

6.33
6.49
6.24
6.26
6.38
6.41
6.50
6.05
6.59
6.59
6.63
6.55
6.43
6.37
6.50

1.14
1.32
0.97
1.13
2.73
1.65
2.79
2.32
4.18
3.65
4.01
3.29
1.68
2.16
1.21

Table 2. Bus service quality scores


Copyright 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment

Sust. Dev. 18, 5161 (2010)


DOI: 10.1002/sd

Public Transport Service Quality and Sustainable Development

Education

Community

2.33
1.15
2.78
3.76
1.65
3.85

2.13
0.96
2.55
3.13
1.90
3.84

Overall service gap score


Tangibles service gap score
Responsiveness service gap score
Reliability service gap score
Assurance service gap score
Overall satisfaction score (out of a best
possible score of 7)

57

Business

Visitor

Signicance level

2.87
2.04
3.17
4.35
1.93
4.42

1.55
0.11
2.00
2.83
1.50
4.66

0.466
0.151
0.662
0.360
0.910
0.773

Table 3. Bus service quality by commuter group

Finally, we asked commuters to rate their overall satisfaction with bus services on a scale of 17, in which 1
represents a strongly disagree and 7 represents strongly agree. The average score was 3.93. This implies a modest
level of satisfaction with current bus services.
In essence, the current level of bus service still has room for improvement. Commuters showed their highest
approval for availability of seats during most bus trips, but indicated highest disapproval for bus frequency and
punctuality. Taken together, the results suggest some hard business decisions for bus service providers. On the
one hand, commuters are asking for more frequent bus services, yet at the current frequency the buses are not
lled and therefore seats are mostly available. Therefore, the problem lies in the viability of providing more frequent
but under-utilized bus services. One possibility may be to increase the frequency but use smaller capacity buses
during non-peak hours. Another may be to encourage the use of bicycles for those travelling a short distance.
Successful shifting of transport choices, however, depends on more than just a persuasive communication
campaign. Developing and nurturing conditions conducive for cycling is an imperative.
From the results in Table 3, all 4 groups of commuters posted negative overall service gap scores, which imply
less than satisfactory bus service quality level. Business commuters indicated the greatest overall service gap score
and visitors the smallest. However, the ANOVA test found no signicant difference in the overall attitude towards
bus service quality level among the four groups at the 0.05 signicance level. Therefore, all four groups concur in
their views of a less than satisfactory bus service level.
In the detailed breakdown of service quality, the reliability dimension consistently scored the worst (with the
biggest negative service gap score) among the four service quality dimensions across all four groups. Specically,
the reliability dimension relates to the ability to perform the promised service dependably and accurately. Punctuality, in particular, is an area of deciency within current bus services. The area with the smallest negative service
gap score appears to be the tangibles dimension, which relates to the physical state of buses. With the signicance
level scores greater than 0.05 in all the service dimensions across all groups, we conclude that there is no signicant difference in the assessment of bus service quality level among the four groups of commuters. Given the less
than satisfactory rating of current bus services, the moderate overall satisfaction score by all four groups is therefore no surprise. Further, the ANOVA test shows that there is a convergence of views in this regard among the
four groups of commuters at the 0.05 signicance level.

Train
The overall perception score for train services is 4.71, while the expectation score is 6.40. According to the
SERVQUAL denition, where the perception of service quality score is less than the expectation of service quality
score, the service quality is less than satisfactory. In this case, there is a service gap of 1.69. Table 4 provides the
detailed service quality scores for each item in the SERVQUAL scale.
Out of the four dimensions of service quality, train services performed the best in the reliability dimension. It
has the smallest service gap between commuters perception and expectation of service. The worst performance
was for the responsiveness dimension, with a service gap score of 2.17.
Copyright 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment

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L. Too and G. Earl

Service quality dimensions

Tangibles
Trains are clean and comfortable
Seats are available on most trips
Responsiveness
Trains provide are value for money
Train information is easily obtained
There are adequate express train services
Trains are frequent
Reliability
Trains are punctual
Train information is correct and updated
Assurance
Train station personnel are helpful and courteous
I feel safe during my train journey

Ave. perception
score (P)

Ave. expectation
score (E)

Service quality
=PE

4.65
4.79
4.52
4.23
4.83
5.05
3.39
3.67
5.15
5.24
5.07
4.84
4.71
4.98

6.44
6.48
6.40
6.40
6.33
6.29
6.38
6.60
6.44
6.55
6.33
6.34
6.24
6.45

1.79
1.69
1.88
2.17
1.50
1.24
2.99
2.93
1.29
1.31
1.26
1.50
1.53
1.47

Table 4. Train service quality score

Overall service gap score


Tangibles service gap score
Responsiveness service gap score
Reliability service gap score
Assurance service gap score
Overall satisfaction score (out of a best
possible score of 7)

Education

Community

Business

Visitor

Signicance level

1.63
1.75
1.98
1.23
1.55
5.13

1.53
1.70
2.12
1.10
1.20
5.33

2.75
2.62
4.12
2.25
2.00
5.00

0.50
0.50
0.50
0.00
1.00
4.80

0.388
0.668
0.084
0.505
0.844
0.966

Table 5. Train service quality by commuter group

As for the individual service quality item rating, commuters indicated that the best area of service quality provided by trains is the availability of train information. This has the smallest individual item service gap, 1.24. The
worst performance areas are the lack of express train service and infrequent train service. Their service gap scores
are 2.99 and 2.93 respectively.
In summary, train services have performed fairly well, with a small service gap score of 1.69. Overall satisfaction level was also moderately high. The key improvement areas are in providing more express service trains and
increasing the frequency of trains. The ndings are consistent with the needs of modern society, where time is
the only luxury item. As such, it is pertinent when public transport providers review their services to include
minimizing travel time as a key customer need to full.
In the overall assessment of train services, the results in Table 5 show that the business group was the most
critical of current level of service quality, given its largest negative service gap score. The visitor group was the
most benevolent in its assessment of train service quality. The overall service gap scores are smaller for train
services than bus services across all groups. However, train services are still less than satisfactory according to all
groups, and the ANOVA test found no signicant difference in the assessment of train services among the
groups.
Three out of the four groups (education, community and business) indicated that train services were most decient in the responsiveness category. This relates in particular to the frequency of trains. Compared with bus
services, commuters rated train services as more reliable. There is therefore a higher overall satisfaction score for
Copyright 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment

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Public Transport Service Quality and Sustainable Development

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train services. No signicant difference exists in the overall satisfaction level among the four groups at the 0.05
level of signicance.

Overview of Public Transport Service Quality


The preceding discussion has provided detailed insights into the 11-items of service quality needs relating to bus
and train services within Varsity Lakes. In this section, we provide an overview of public transport service quality.
Table 6 provides the summary results and this showed that all forms of public transport provided less than satisfactory levels of service quality, with bus having the highest negative service gap score of 2.27 followed by train
with 1.69. The extent to which this affected overall commuter satisfaction was also captured in the survey. Unsurprisingly, train had the higher overall satisfaction score of 4.93. Bus had the lower overall satisfaction score of 3.93.
The results support the empirical ndings of OHara (1999) and Edvardsson (1998). In a survey of 444 urban
households in New York, OHara found that bus was rated among the top ten most important neighbourhood
services. However, bus services were also found to be the most wanting and requiring improvement. Specically,
in Edvarssons study, the conduct of bus drivers, punctuality and information to passengers were areas requiring
most urgent attention. Table 6 summarizes the service gap scores for each of the service quality dimension, and
this is useful for understanding the areas where improvements are needed for public transport to encourage greater
usage. This is pertinent for a sustainable future.

Overall service gap score


Tangibles service gap score
Responsiveness service gap score
Reliability service gap score
Assurance service gap score
Overall satisfaction score

Bus

Train

2.27
1.14
2.73
3.65
1.68
3.93

1.69
1.79
2.17
1.29
1.50
4.93

Table 6. Public transport service quality

Where buses are concerned, commuters have indicated that their biggest need lies in having more reliable
service, with a service gap score of 3.65. Specically, this relates to bus punctuality. For train services, service
quality can be improved by being more responsive to customer needs in the area of having adequate express services and increasing the train frequency. Both modes of public transport have scored relatively well in the assurance
dimension of service quality by having courteous and helpful drivers, who also provide commuters with a sense
of safety during their journeys.

Conclusion
This study has presented the ndings of a survey of 604 commuters within Varsity Lakes on public transport
needs in the area. The study has also illustrated the application of the SERVQUAL instrument for measuring
public transport service quality. As this study presented only the ndings from one local community level, it will
be useful for future research to replicate this study on other local communities. The ndings can then be compared
and greater insights can be drawn on improving public transport service levels.
Across the board, the overall perception scores on all public transport were less than the expectation scores. This
represents a less than satisfactory service quality. In particular, the areas where public transport fell short were in
the responsiveness and reliability criteria. These relate to infrequent and unreliable public transport services.
Additionally, these views were held across the four different commuter groups, i.e. education, business, visitor
and community.
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L. Too and G. Earl

In the light of the above ndings, if sustainability is a strategic goal for the community, then there is an urgent
need to review and realign public transport services with the needs of the community. To encourage a change in
transport preference, the alternative choice presented must be plausible. At this point, the gap between private and
public transport is too wide and most respondents do not consider public transport to be the alternative. One suggestion is to adopt a strategy of inconvenience. This approach seeks to create less than conducive conditions for
private transport in order to narrow the gap between public and private transport. However, this can only be
implemented with improved public transport services that are considered as a good alternative to private transport.
For a start, public transport managers can target a segment of commuters whose public transport needs can be
quickly met in a viable way. For most commuters, frequency, connectivity and integration between the different
modes of transport are important. For example, train schedules should be timed well to connect with bus schedules.
In the long run however, a strategic plan must be in place to guide and improve public transport services, i.e. to
provide public transport services that are reliable and integrated such that they respond to the needs of commuters. The catalyst for review and change however lies in having a conviction of our current unsustainable transit
choices and commitment to a sustainable future.

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