Commuter satisfaction falls for trains, rises for buses and taxis in Q2: SMU study

Commuter satisfaction falls for trains, rises for buses and taxis in Q2: SMU study

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Commuters stuck on a train after a signalling fault on the North-South Line. (Photo: Xavier Lur)

SINGAPORE: Commuters in Singapore were less satisfied with train services in the second quarter of this year, but more satisfied with public buses and taxis, according to a study by the Singapore Management University’s Institute of Service Excellence (ISE).

The Customer Satisfaction Index for the MRT system was 64.8 out of 100 points, a decline of 1.6 points from a year ago, the institute said in a news release on Wednesday (Sep 27).

In particular, commuter satisfaction was significantly lower in July – a decline correlated to the start of weekday signalling tests at the end of May and various train disruptions in the adjacent months, ISE said.

Train frequency, handling of disruptions and reliability of trains were the top factors that affected perceived quality, said Mr Chen Yongchang, ISE’s head of research and consulting.

“It is clear that commuters’ perceptions of quality relate to whether train operations are well managed to get them to their destination in an effective manner,” he said.

While the satisfaction rating for train reliability saw a decline, other attributes such as sufficiency of train arrival information, helpfulness of staff and ease of moving within stations saw improvements in satisfaction rating.


In contrast, the satisfaction score for public bus services rose 2.23 points to 64.9, with higher ratings in travel time and availability of information.

Commuter satisfaction also increased with taxi services, rising 1.85 points to 71.8. However, ratings for “comfort of the ride” fell, with local respondents rating private-hire cars as more comfortable.

“With increased competition among taxis and private-hire cars, understanding what matters to commuters is key to helping operators focus their efforts on the areas that will make a difference to how satisfied they make their customers,” said ISE’s executive director Neeta Lachmandas.

Overall, customer satisfaction with the land transport sector was 67.8 points, an increase of 0.99 point over the same period last year, ISE said. The sector comprises the MRT system, public buses, taxi services and transport booking apps.

The study was conducted between April and July. A total of 6,750 respondents comprising 4,300 locals and 2,450 tourists were surveyed.

Source: CNA/cy