Analysing bus passengers' satisfaction in Dhaka using discrete choice models

The bus transport system in Dhaka is unsafe, unreliable and inefficient, and struggles to cope with the day-to-day mobility of its massive population. Consequently, measuring the performance of bus service quality (SQ) from the customers’ perspective is fundamental in planning a sustainable bus transport system for Dhaka, and in developing the associated policies and regulations. Although there are some studies addressing the performance of the public transport systems in Bangladesh, little research considers how SQ attributes affect passengers’ satisfaction. The purpose of this paper is to examine a relationship between bus SQ and its influencing factors in Dhaka. Using a customer satisfaction survey with a sample size of 955, discrete choice models (e.g. multinomial logit and mixed logit) have been developed. The results indicate that the inhabitants, as expected, are dissatisfied with their bus services (less than 10% rated SQ as either excellent/good) and service attributes such as comfort level and driver skills were found to be the most important contributors towards the poor and very poor perceptions of SQ. Other influencing factors are punctuality, safety, entry and exit processes, waiting time and vehicle condition. One surprising finding was that the multinomial logit model provides better goodness-of-fit for the sample data relative to the mixed logit model implying that bus users in Dhaka may represent a homogeneous group as they do have access to other modes. Findings from this study can be utilised to develop policies and regulations to improve bus transport in Dhaka.