Passenger Surveys Make a Positive Difference Bookmark and Share

Even 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:-

  • allow the proper targeting of investment
  • allow measurement of the effect of change
  • assist in the moral of those implementing change
  • ensure that new issues are kept separate from the original plan and budget


Targeting Investment

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:-

  • safety and security
  • punctuality
  • fares and ticket types
  • capacity and overcrowding
  • quality and design of vehicle
  • cleanliness
  • facilities at stations and terminals
  • facilities for passengers with disabilities

Often limited resources and budgets means that investment needs to be carefully planned and properly targeted.

Operators can use passenger surveys to canvas their customers as to what the main issues are. By analyzing passenger feedback operators can confirm that their improvement and investment plans are in tune with the passenger demands and concerns. Issues can be classified by priority and if they can be addressed in the short or long terms.

Major capital investment such as the building of infrastructure for example new terminals, runways, laying new track or upgrading air traffic control or rail signalling equipment may take many years to implement. However, the initial survey can also lead to some high profile problem areas being identified that have solutions that can be implemented almost immediately.


Measuring Change

From having established a comprehensive programme from an initial survey the objectives for running periodic surveys are twofold.

One objective will be to confirm that any changes and initiatives that are implemented have had the desired effect in positively 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 ongoing improvements and future plans.

If passengers appreciate that the operators have acknowledged their concerns and are taking steps to address the problems they may be more tolerant.


Keeping Moral

Those implementing change can often develop a siege mentality. It can take time for changes to take effect and for any improvements to be noticed by the passengers.

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 be slow to appreciate any progress and those working implementing change can become demoralised with criticism from what is often a very negative public. It is essential that a team implementing change can see clearly the effects of their efforts.


Identifying New and Old

In any long term change management programme issues can change over time. Priorities can change instantly so that due to an event what may have been important, is no longer important and what wasn’t an issue, suddenly becomes an issue.

Having a baseline survey will ensure that the passengers concerns are chronologically documented. The needs of passengers evolve over time, individual requirements change, fashion changes, life styles develop along with technology, low cost budget carriers now compete with luxury travel and there is a clear demand for both, in some cases even form the same set of people depending on whether their travel is for business or pleasure. Annual surveys will allow changes in passenger attitudes to be monitored.


Online Surveys Make It Easy

Online surveys can reach a broad cross section of any travelling public. They are quick and easy 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 concerns.

Not only will online passenger surveys make it easy to collect important market research data it will also deliver a message to the passengers that the operator has a genuine commitment to securing positive passenger satisfaction.

The passengers themselves benefit greatly by having an effective channel to raise issues and through periodic surveys will begin to appreciate the operator’s goal to continually invest and improve the service. The following are links to samples of Passenger Surveys

Sample Passenger Survey for an Airline Carrier: Airline Passenger Survey

Passenger Survey for a Train Operator: Train Operator Passenger Survey

Sample Passenger Survey for a Bus Operator: Bus Operator Passenger Survey


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