1997 Metro Transit
Nonrider Study

Metro Transit - (The Twin Cities' Bus Company),
conducts a study of nonrider attitudes and perceptions
of the local transit system every two years.

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This 95% C.I. study
helps establish marketing, service,
environmental, and operational programs and development.

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Study Purpose

The purpose of the 1997 Nonrider Study
is to gain a greater understanding
of the nonriding public’s attitudes, perceptions, expectations,
and opinions of Metro Transit’s services.

Study Objectives

Eight objectives were identified as important to the study.
Stated objectives were:

Commuters to the downtown Minneapolis Business Core,
Commuters to the downtown St. Paul Business Core,
All other travelers in the service area
(whether they commute or not)

These groups were surveyed using a 15-20 minute survey with
Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing [C.A.T.I.] calling techniques.

During the two calling stages, 15,654 calls were attempted.
The total number of people interviewed was 1,457.

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The data collected was cleaned, verified, and analyzed. 
Results from this study were presented in October, 1997.

Example Results:

The typical Rider is more likely to be:
Disproportionately young or very old (less likely to be middle aged or of early retirement age)
A person with household income in a lower or mid range
A high school graduate or person with some college
A person that rents their principal residence
A person with one or no cars available
Living less than a half mile from a bus stop

The typical Nonrider is more likely to be:
A person with household income in the mid to high brackets
A person with some college education or better
A person that owns their principal residence
A person with two or more cars available to them

Operational Findings

Perceived travel time by bus appears to be a major deterrence to willingness to ride the bus.
Sixty percent of nonriders estimate it takes two to three times longer to commute by bus than by car.

The most important factors that influence a nonrider’s decision to ride or not ride
are related to what could be termed ‘travel flexibility’ --
‘it takes too long to get there by bus’, ‘I can’t get there by bus’ and
‘I could not get home quickly in case of an emergency’.

Many of the reasons nonriders find bus riding unappealing are operational in nature.
These include: length of travel time, necessity for transfers, number of stops,
bus atmosphere, safety, and having to wait outside.

Safety is important to a majority of commuters and non-commuters.

Marketing Findings

Getting home quickly in case of any emergency is the number one concern
to the broadest number of nonrider segments and is a perceived barrier to riding.

Available automobiles per household have risen 14% since the previous nonrider study in 1995.
This represents a need for transportation that echoes the general growth in urban sprawl.

The main reasons for bus riding appeal are ease of riding, saving money and environmental impact.
Appeal seems linked to consequences of bus use, not the experience per se.

Basis for nonriders perceiving bus riding as non-appealing is not related to ‘image’ factors.

Cost considerations are not barriers to riding the bus for most nonriders.

Parking costs would have to increase greatly (double to quadruple)
before most nonrider commuters would start considering the bus.

Service Findings

The majority of nonriders rate service performance high across all 15 factors examined.

The majority of nonriders perceive that bus service has stayed the same over the past two years.

Two-thirds of all nonriders view Metro Transit as being responsive to public transportation needs.

Public Policy Findings

73% of all nonriders feel improving highways and streets to reduce congestion
is ‘Somewhat’ to ‘Very important’.

70% of all nonriders feel improving public transportation is ‘Somewhat’ to ‘Very important’,
almost as many as feel road improvements are important.

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