Determining Factors of User Satisfaction for Bicycle-Sharing Systems: MalagaBici Case Study

Determining Factors of User Satisfaction for Bicycle-Sharing Systems: MalagaBici Case Study

Sebastian Molinillo (University of Malaga, Spain), Francisco J. Liébana-Cabanillas (University of Granada, Spain), Miguel Ruiz-Montañez (Malagueña Transportation Company (EMT), Spain) and Guadalupe González-Sánchez (University of Malaga, Spain)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9928-9.ch011


With the development of new shared transportation services, changes are occurring in the habitual consumption of these kinds of services, and it is expected that this trend will continue in the coming years. Given the rise of public bicycle-sharing systems (PBSS) and the increase in their use as a new mode of transportation in many cities, it is considered necessary to analyze and understand the main aspects that determine satisfaction with PBSS. This chapter proposes 10 aspects related to PBSS, grouped according to service infrastructure and other factors that are typical of this service. The results show that all the variables maintain a significant relationship with the established levels of satisfaction. In addition, it has been demonstrated that concessionaires and town halls must take special interest in the quality of the city's bicycles, bike lanes, and network of stations.
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Technological development has facilitated the appearance of new business models based on the sharing economy in diverse sectors, such as tourism, retail and education. One of the sectors that has been impacted the most by this process is passenger transportation. With the development of new shared transportation services (e.g., bicycles, scooters, cars, taxis), users’ habits are rapidly changing and the growth in demand is expected to increase in the coming years.

In the field of urban transportation, bicycle-sharing systems (BSS) have become a key element of the multimodal network of urban public transportation in cities all over the world, valued as an effective component of sustainable urban mobility strategies. Studies have shown that these systems have had a rapid rate of diffusion as compared to other transportation innovations, as they are associated with both social and environmental benefits (Parkes, Marsden, Shaheen, & Cohen, 2013). For example, there is evidence that using BSS largely substitutes for traditional modes of transportation, such as private vehicles (Fishman, Washington, & Haworth, 2015; Shaheen, Guzman, & Zhang, 2010). The decreased dependence on private vehicles thanks to the use of BSS implies a reduction in gas emissions and traffic congestion. Furthermore, BSS improve public transportation connectivity and intermodality, improving the capacity of bus and train networks in major cities (Shaheen, Martin, & Cohen, 2013). Therefore, BSS help cities encourage more sustainable mobility (Jäppinen, Toivonen, & Salonen, 2013).

BSS also has the potential to further promote the image of bicycles by increasing the practice of cycling and contributing to normalizing its use (Ricci, 2015). This also favors changes in behavior towards a greater use of bicycles for daily mobility and an improved perception of bicycles as a convenient, competitive mode of transportation (Shaheen et al., 2010). It also contributes to improving local economies by connecting people with employment opportunities, retail trade and other places where they can carry out economic activity (Ricci, 2015).

BSS offers numerous benefits for users, including improving their health and physical activity, offering a wider variety of transportation options, decreased time and costs for getting around, and a better travel experience. Users do not need to worry about typical issues associated with privately owned bicycles, such as maintenance, theft protection and finding a place to park it (Mátrai & Tóth, 2016).

Some authors have identified that the users’ level of satisfaction with BSS is one of the main variables that influences their use of the system (Chen et al., 2017). Given its importance, various studies have attempted to identify the factors that determine user satisfaction, highlighting those related to infrastructure and service features. However, studies on satisfaction cannot be generalized because the impact of these factors largely depends on the BSS environment. Accordingly, bicycle use varies greatly between different countries and even municipalities (Rietveld & Daniel, 2004). Use is influenced by various aspects such as culture, socioeconomic inequality, climate, topography, cycling infrastructure and protection from road traffic, public policy, bicycle promotion activities, and even drivers’ behavior towards cyclists on the road (Pucher, Garrard, & Greaves, 2011). A greater understanding of the use of BSS is therefore necessary (Shaheen et al., 2010).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Quality: The result of the evaluation of service compliance made by users or consumers.

Satisfaction: Response of users or consumers when comparing their expectations prior to acquiring a service with their subsequent evaluation after using it.

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