The quality of public transport services receives frequent media coverage and is often the cause of civil unrest. Whilst the developed world moves towards lower car usage and higher levels of public transport use, South Africa’s public transport system remains unable to provide the commuter with an attractive alternative to the private car. This paper uses a modified SERVQUAL model to consider the gap between commuters’ perceptions of service quality and their expectations. The study measures five dimensions of service quality, i.e. reliability, the extent of the service, comfort, safety and affordability. These five dimensions comprise 25 attributes in total. Respondents were targeted from the Greater Johannesburg area, as the largest urban population in the country. The results indicate gaps in some of the dimensions and a number of attributes were identified as having influenced the perception of service quality significantly enough to lead to customer dissatisfaction. The study provides public transport operators and government departments responsible for the provision and subsidisation of public transport with a tool characterised by a good degree of openness and flexibility, to fit individual needs. It might also be of interest for practitioners wishing to explore the main drivers of satisfaction among transport users. Recommendations for improvement in service quality have been made.
Papers presented at the 36th Southern African Transport Conference, CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa on 10-13 July 2017.