Why Passenger Surveys are a Transport Operators Best Friend
Public transport operators who already use passenger surveys may not fully appreciate the multiple benefits that surveys can bring. Not only are surveys an efficient method of market research that will help identify areas of passenger dissatisfaction, they are also perfect for measuring the effects of improvements and can, at the same time, help promote new initiatives to customers using the service.
Establishing a Starting Point
When embarking on any change management programme it is always good practice to establish a base line before any changes are made. This baseline survey can serve four purposes, it will:-
There are many areas of any public transport system that can cause passenger dissatisfaction all of which need to be monitored to ensure that the service being provided meets, and where possible, exceeds, performance level targets.
Issues that can be of concern to passenger include:-
Often limited resources and budgets means that investment needs to be carefully planned and properly targeted.
Passenger surveys allow operators to identify those areas that are of most concern to their customers. Through the analysis of passenger feedback the operator will be able to ensure that their improvement and investment plans are in-line with passenger demands and concerns. Issues can be classified into high and low priority, as well as long and short term plans.
Some capital investment such
as the building of new terminals, runways, laying new track or upgrading
air traffic control or rail signalling equipment may take years to
implement. However, the initial survey is also likely to identify some
high profile areas that can be implemented almost immediately at a
relative low cost.
From having established a
comprehensive programme from an initial survey the objectives for running
periodic surveys are twofold.
One objective will be to
ensure that the changes and initiatives that are implemented have been
effective in addressing passenger issues. A second objective will be to
promote and advertise the initiatives that have been implemented and also
inform and educate passengers of on-going improvements and future
Passengers will always be
more positive if they can see that improvements have been made and more
accepting of outstanding problems if they know that those problems are
Those implementing change can often develop a siege mentality. Change can take time to take effect and for the passengers to appreciate any improvement.
By monitoring passenger opinion and measuring the results against earlier surveys a successful change programme should see passenger issues change over time, some issues that were problems will no longer be raised.
Passengers will take time to
appreciate progress and often those working on a change project will be
demoralised with constant criticism from what is often a negative public.
It is important that a team implementing change can see clearly the
effects of their efforts.
Identifying New and
In any long term change
management programme issues can change over time. Events can happen that
make what was important, no longer important and what wasn't an issue, an
The baseline survey will
ensure that the passengers concerns are chronologically documented.
Passengers are themselves an evolving group, individual travel
arrangements change, fashion changes, life styles develop along with
technology. Periodic surveys will allow changes in passenger attitudes to
Online Surveys Make
Online surveys can reach a
broad cross section of any travelling public. They are quick to design and
implement and they provide feedback in a format that is ready for detailed
analysis. The low cost and flexibility of online surveys allows passenger
concern to be targeted at specific groups and particular
Online surveys provide operators with important market research data as well as a platform to promote and advertise their commitment to passenger satisfaction.
Passengers benefit by having an effective channel to raise issues and through periodic surveys will begin to appreciate that the operator is continually investing and improving the service. The following are links to samples of Passenger Surveys
Sample Passenger Survey for an Airline Operator:-
Passenger Survey for a Train Operator:-
Sample Passenger Survey for a Bus Operator:-