Trip stage satisfaction of public transport users: A reference-based model incorporating trip attributes, perceived service quality, psychological disposition and difference tolerance

The concept of satisfaction reflects the extent by which a consumed product or service meets the expectations of an individual consumer. Generally, a smaller discrepancy between expectation and service delivery is associated with a higher satisfaction. Satisfaction ratings do, however, not purely reflect the mapping of experienced attributes on some (reference-based) satisfaction scale. The expressed satisfaction rating may also vary as a function of attitudes, personality traits and moods of the respondent at the time of measurement. Thus, in order to estimate unbiased satisfaction with the attributes of a choice alternative, one needs to control for attitudes, moods and personality traits. In contrast with the state of the art in travel behaviour research, which is almost invariantly based on linear regression and structural equations analysis, this study explores the performance of non-linear models of trip satisfaction for public transportation. Focusing on public transportation, the authors assume that trip stage satisfaction systematically varies in a non-linear fashion with the discrepancy between expectations and actual experienced attributes of the trip stage, controlling for perceived service quality, attitudes, moods and personality traits. In contributing to the rapidly growing literature on travel satisfaction in general and in the context of public transportation in particular, the aim of this study is to develop a reference-based model of trip stage satisfaction that takes perceived service quality, attitudes, moods, personality traits and difference tolerance into account. Difference tolerance refers to the notion that within some tolerance level, differences between service delivery and expectations do not have a major effect on satisfaction ratings. The data used to estimate the model were collected in January 2015 in Xian, China among a random sample of respondents. Results support the contentions underlying the study: several relationships between attributes and satisfaction appear non-linear. There is also evidence of difference tolerance, but results differ between attributes.


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  • Accession Number: 01686233
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 17 2018 3:03PM