Service quality in the public transport sector : the expectations and perceptions of users of Bus Éireanns Sligo Town Service and Expressway
In public transport various service quality attributes cause transport users to be satisfied and dissatisfied with the service they receive. Much o f the time public transport is something that people ‘accept’ as is, without having a strong opinion o f the “satisfiers”, often expectations o f services are not that high. Areas causing dissatisfaction discovered in the literature included reliability, treatment by drivers and lack o f information. While areas such as getting a seat on the bus and service frequency caused satisfaction. The research aimed to identify the level o f service quality as perceived by transport users on BE’s Sligo Town Service and the Expressway Sligo to Enniskillen route. Bus drivers and one member o f management were targeted to discover if gaps exist between their perceptions and those o f transport users. Ulsterbus users who were awaiting or exiting any Ulsterbus service were surveyed to compare with BE. The research instruments utilised involved Questionnaires, an In-depth interview and a Mystery Ride-A-Long. From the findings it emerged that areas such as reliability, bus stop facilities and lack o f modem buses caused BE users to be dissatisfied, many o f which were supported by the literature. Sources o f satisfaction included treatment by drivers, safety and getting a seat on the bus. It also emerged that BE users were more satisfied than the users o f the Ulsterbus services in Enniskillen. From the research conclusions, service quality was visible however; there were many service quality attributes that caused shortfalls in service quality within Bus Eireann. The researcher offered a number o f recommendations such as improving bus stop facilities, upgrading buses, improving the timetable and becoming more reliable, to assist Bus Eireann in making service quality more effective.
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