Journal of Service Quality and Customer Satisfaction in Transportation

Topics: Qualitative research, Quality of service, Case study Pages: 14 (4544 words) Published: September 13, 2013
International Journal for Quality research UDK- 656.025.2:658.56 Short Scientific Paper (1.03)

SERVICE QUALITY AND CUSTOMER SATISFACTION IN PUBLIC TRANSPORTS Filipa Fonseca1) Sofia Pinto1) Carlos Brito2) 1) Faculty of Economics and Management, Catholic University of Portugal, Portugal 2) Faculty of Economics, University of Porto, Portugal Abstract: The objective of the paper is to identify the determinants of service quality as well as its impact on the satisfaction of public transport commuters. The paper explores the relationship between service quality and customer satisfaction in a public transport service taking into account both internal and external perspectives. In order to analyse this relationship, the concepts of service quality, consumer satisfaction and dissatisfaction are assessed. A model of analysis is developed aiming at explaining this relationship and guiding the empirical study. This is based on an exploratory case study of a metro company in Europe. The results of the study put in evidence two key findings. The first is related to the level of service quality in its main dimensions. We conclude that reliability, security, speed, comfort and punctuality are quality dimensions of greater importance for the public transport services. Secondly, the study explores satisfaction and their determinants. Despite literature stipulates the existence of a distinction between the constructs of quality and satisfaction, this study found that the transport company, non-customers and customers clearly do not make such a distinction. Keywords: service quality, satisfaction, dissatisfaction, public transport

1. INTRODUCTION Marketing researchers have, for a long time, recognized the importance of service quality as well as consumer satisfaction. Significant investigation has been conducted in both fields, particularly in services (cf. Andreassen, 1995; Edvardsson, 1998; Friman e Garling, 2001; Higgs et al., 2005). However, few studies have explored the both sides of the service process: operations (the internal side) and customer (the external side) perspectives of quality and satisfaction. In the public sector this is likely to be of particular interest. Public services, such as public transportation, have to meet the needs of the customers playing, at the same time, a role in economic and urban sustainability. They challenge operations to deliver quality to serve customers and non-customers while making the best use of company resources. The objective of this article is to identify the determinants of service quality and its impact on the satisfaction of public transport commuters. It is divided into five sections beyond this introductory section. It begins with a review of the literature that synthesizes and discusses some concepts considered relevant for the research. Then it addresses the methodology used in the study, as well as a number of considerations about the quality of the research design. The next section presents the findings, which are followed by a discussion of possible implications. Finally, the paper ends with the main conclusions, managerial implications and some suggestions for further research.

2. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND
The theoretical background is developed around three major issues: quality, satisfaction and dissatisfaction. In the management context, the word quality can be used to refer to different things: accordance with the specifications (Levitt, 1972; Juran and Gryna, 1991); excellence (Garvin, 1984); accordance with the requirements, adequacy of use, prevention of losses, or how to answer to or to exceed consumer expectations (Grönroos, 1984, Parasuraman, Zeithaml and Berry, 1985, 1988). Through such a variety of concepts, the common point of most of the definitions, exception for the first one, is that of targeting the consumer. In this research, quality is presented in the perspective of perceived quality because it is the most commonly used in the services area. Moreover,...

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