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Customer Satisfaction towards Public Transport: Case Study of Bus

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1.0 Introduction

Public transportation can be defined as transportation by conveyance that provides continuing general or special transportation to the public excluding school buses (Tran & Kleiner 2005, p.154). There are many ways of public transportation in Malaysia such as taxis, buses and vans. Generally, taxi is a mode of transport for people to go from one place to another places. There are several ways to pay the taxi driver such as based on taximeter that calculates distance from one destination to another destination or using fare paid (Demand Media 2011). Thus, buses are main public transport in Malaysia they can provide a convenient, low cost service for the passengers (Nrides, 2011).

Passenger satisfaction can be observed as one of the most remarkable and primary components in any service and industry field because of the direct relationship with passenger’s retention. The quality of life (QOL) has become a world concern. It is known as the general well-being of person or society, which is defined in terms of health and happiness, instead of wealth. (Felce & Perry, 1995) consider that QOL is multi-dimension sense of well-being which can be categorised into five dimensions which is physical, material, social, emotional, development and activity. Schneider et al, (2013) defines QOL is an individual perception of their position in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live and in relation of their goal, expectations, standard and concerns.

Transportation is one of the QOL and it is a bridge that enables an individual to visit and patronise local amenities, travel to work, and contact with family and friends. It is also called sustainable transports system as a result of the eco-friendlier and more environmentally-conscious psyche of the 21st Century Global citizen such as cleaner air, safer roads, conducive method to destinations and having a plethora of transportation options made available to them. Thus, it promoted physical health, safety and well-being of population (Bunting 2004).

Nowadays, services sector is the main focus in the Malaysian economics. According to Rao (2005), services industry has become the main contributor to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in India which reached 49% at the end the year 2000 and 2001. After that, services sector grew to 57% at the end of the year 2008 and 2009. Services sector can be divided into several sectors which is wholesaler, retail trade, hotels, restaurants, transport, store, communication, real estate, renting and business activities. Services industry also has become the main contributor to GDP (Kaiser 2002). Services sector on public transportation has highly developed in recent years. Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that public transportation should be improved and become of the National Key Result Areas (NKRAs). Moreover, rail and bus terminals are also expected to increase from 12% in 2009 to 30% in the year 2015. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said that population in Kuala Lumpur citizens would use public transportation more than 50% in the year 2020.

Yang Berhormat Dato’ Seri Kong Cho Ha is the Minister of Transport (MOT) said that service sector is the most important because in the 10th Malaysia Plan it is expected that services sectors will increase 7.2% to 61% at the end 2015. Road Transport Department (RTD), are the responsible to registration and licensing of every vehicle and promotes road safety to the citizens (Kenya Revenue Authority 2004).

1.1 Background of the study

Competition among the competitors becomes a kind of survival in business. In this competitive and challenging world, the customers become more demanding and expect to be served better by the services organizations. Public transportation industry faced a lot of challenges of providing high quality services for the customers. The previous research pointed out that the key to sustainable competitive advantages lies in delivering high quality service that will in turn satisfy customers (Seth, Deshmuk and Vrat 2006). Besides, providing superior service should be concerned as the important strategy by the public transports industry to satisfy their customers.

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According to Kale (2009), a company who wins the customer satisfaction is more important than retain customers. It is because once the company wins the customer satisfaction, the customers will become loyal to the company. Keeping the existing customers is more profitable and involves minimum cost than attracting the new customers. Lost customers are very disastrous. Based on Wagner, Tiffany and Peterson (2008) found that the cost is about five time as much as in terms of time, money, and resources to attract new customers as it does to retain existing customers.

In this study, customer satisfaction should be a main focus for the public transport industry. Based on Chen (2010), customer satisfaction is major influence on customer to purchase product and services frequently and positive words of mouth to their friend, relatives, family, and also this will provide good recommendation for the company to improve in the future Chen (2010) So that, it will bring benefits to the public bus transportation industry. For instance, satisfied customers will be more likely to tell others about their favourable experience.

Steg & Gifford (2005) in their research have discovered the negative consequences of increasing the number of cars on the road. Furthermore, in an observation-based study by Bunting 2004, Shuhana Shamsuddin et al, (2012), noted that if a society priorities vehicle for personal use only, this will make the demand for cars increasing that cause the widespread traffic congestion, air and noise pollution, an unsociable society and exposing pedestrians and cyclist to danger. Therefore, the researcher needs a public transport system that focuses on improving air quality and health. Even though, Singapore, Tokyo and Hong Kong are known for their excellent public transports system Kenworthy (1995) they are not representative of the state of affairs worldwide as other countries are still facing challenges in attracting members to use the public transports.

1.2 Problem Statement

In this millennial, customer become more demanding and know how to choose the best for themselves especially by the services organization and expected to be served and treated very well. Hence, by accepting open transport as an everyday public transportation can help to reduce typical cost for basic items contrasted with other open vehicle like taxi.

The biggest failure of public transport can be shown is the inability to attract private car users. This claim can be also supported by similar research done by Rakesh & Shweta (2010), that public transports does not meet the current demand and thus forcing citizens to use their private cars instead. The reasons why don’t the citizens use the public transports are often late, dirty and unattractive stations, unfriendly drivers, and inadequate provision for people with disabilities Bunting (2004). However, these claims can also be contended by Banister (2007) also added that the long time waiting, badly designed transit interchanges, transit route information that are not easily available and complicated transit routes among the main reasons’ customers give when clearly why public transports is not their primary choice. A report from Schneider et al (2013) stated that the respondents felt that the public transports never satisfied the customers. In Malaysia, public bus is the second most used of transport for the moderate- and low-income population. Yet, Kuala Lumpur, the use of public bus is common but the level of service provided is below their expectation (Ismail, Hesam Hafezi, Mohd Nor, & Ambak, 2012).

The direct assistance of government act enhances the performance of the public transports in Malaysia Hensher and Stanley (2003). In Malaysia, the role of government authority had been injected in the whole public transport system in order to control and provide guidelines to service providers while refuse to acknowledge the user needs. Several ways and approaches had been introduced in order to enhance the public transportation system. In the 10th National Key Result Area (NKRA), the initiatives on urban public transports had focused more on rakyat-centric as rakyat or customers as the major contributor in economic growth.

In relation to the issues and problems mentioned, several questions are raised. User as the demander for the operator to provide the bus services delegate the power to distinguish their satisfaction towards the services provided. Identifying the attributes that users gratify might influence operators and authorities to cater the demand more effectively. At the same time, the views of the operator and authority on the attributes of an ideal bus service are also important. Thus, it is imperative to ascertain the attributes of an efficient bus services from the perspectives of the user, operator and authority.

Research Questions

  • Do the tangibles influence the customer satisfaction towards public transports?
  • Do the assurances affect the customer satisfaction towards public transports?

Research Objectives

  • To identify the relationship between the tangibles with customer satisfaction towards public transports.
  • To analyse the relationship between assurance with customer satisfaction towards public transports.


  1. Noor, H., M., Nasrudin, N., Foo, J., (2014), Determinants of Customer Satisfaction of Service Quality: City Bus Service in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. Social and Behavior Science
  2. Jun, T., W., (2012), Customer Satisfaction towards Services Quality of Public Transportation in Kuching Area.
  3. Khurshid, R., Naeem, Dr., H., Ejaz, S., Mukhtar, F., Batool, T., (2012), Service Quality and Customer Satisfaction In Public Transport Sector of Pakistan: An Empirical Study. International Journal of Economics and Management Sciences.
  4. Noh, A., N., (2015), Factors Influencing Bus Service Quality-Perspective Of User, Operator and Authority.
  5. Randheer, K., AL-Motawa, A., A., J, P., V., (2011), Measuring Commuters’ Perception on Service Quality Using SERVQUAL in Public Transportation. International Journal of Marketing Studies.

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Customer Satisfaction towards Public Transport: Case Study of Bus. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 1, 2023, from
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