A Hybrid Approach Based on SERVQUAL, SERVPERF, and IPA for Measuring Transit Service Quality: With Application for STM, Montreal

A Hybrid Approach Based on SERVQUAL, SERVPERF, and IPA for Measuring Transit Service Quality: With Application for STM, Montreal

Mohamad Haidar (Concordia University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9570-0.ch014


The purpose of this chapter is to discuss the public perception of the quality of service in the public transit system in Montreal using a combination of analyses and surveys. The results are used to make recommendations to improve the STM and its perception. General guidelines of SERVQUAL with some additional questions that are more specific to the current social environment of the city are presented. A survey was conducted by asking 250 international graduate Concordia students to rate a series of statements based on the importance of the issue and how much they agreed with the statement, the results were analyzed using three methods: SERVQUAL, SERVPERF, and IPA. The improvement of timetable synchronization between different metro lines and buses is crucial, as well as the education of STM employees in terms of dealing with different ethnicities, languages, and backgrounds are found. The chapter is a rare outside look at the STM and how users perceive the quality of the service, as opposed to the usual internal studies done by the organization itself.
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Problem Definition

While service quality has always been important, initially the objective of public transport was more focused on functionality and convenience than on customer approval ratings or quality perception. In recent years the focus has shifted more toward improving and ensuring a high level of service quality, this is done by benchmarking other, more successful public transit systems, optimization, and employee training that is more focused on service quality and empathy.

When it comes to service quality in public transportation there is not much research being done, most analysis is based on revenues (the more people take the metro, the more it is assumed that they are satisfied with the system).

Figure 1.

APTA award and metro map


In 2009 the Société de Transport de Montreal (STM) was awarded the American Public Transportation Association award for being the outstanding public transportation system in North America. This award is an impressive achievement, but technology is constantly changing at a very fast pace, not to mention that the user base is also constantly changing since there is a high turnover in the city caused by new students moving to one of the many universities served by the STM.

In this paper the authors ask themselves, how does the current generation of international students view the STM? Are they satisfied with the quality of the service that they receive? And what are the main areas that can be improved?

A survey was conducted with Concordia University international students about their usage and quality perceptions of the green metro line, the orange metro line, and the 165-bus route. The results were analyzed using SERVQUAL, SERVPERF, and IPA methods, then cross analyzed to see which of these metro and bus lines provided the highest quality for the rest to benchmark and which areas could and should be improved.

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