1997 Metro Transit
Metro Transit - (The Twin Cities' Bus Company),
conducts a study of nonrider attitudes and perceptions
of the local transit system every two years.
This 95% C.I. study helps establish marketing, service,
environmental, and operational programs and development.
The purpose of the 1997 Nonrider Study
is to gain a greater understanding
of the nonriding publics attitudes, perceptions, expectations,
and opinions of Metro Transits services.
Eight objectives were identified as important to the study.
Stated objectives were:
Gain a better understanding of the opinions,
and travel behavior of the nonriding public
Identify the demographic, lifestyle,
lifestage, and travel characteristics
of potential riders, former riders, and resolute nonriders of public transportation
Identify consumer attitudes, perceptions, and
expectations towards Metro Transit
(cost, customer service, convenience, comfort, etc.) by market segment
Identify the perceived and actual incentives
and deterrents to
bus ridership by market segment
Identify environmental trends that offer the potential for market share gains
Determine awareness levels for Metro Transit products and services
Identify market share and profile of customers
currently using the bus and
distinguish between those who have ridden in the last month
from those who have ridden once in the last year
Evaluate the data and outline implications for
service development to increase ridership
The survey questionnaire was developed based on
direction and input from Metro Transit marketing staff.
A sampling strategy was designed that allowed
for statistically valid information from all desired market segments.
Qualified respondents were randomly selected from
Metro Transits current service area.
A random digit dialing sample was developed that provided equal
opportunity to all qualifying adults 18 years of age or older living within
the zip codes that are served by Metro Transit.
Three main market segments were evaluated:
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.
The data collected was cleaned, verified, and analyzed.
Results from this study were presented in October, 1997.
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
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 nonriders
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 cant 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.
Getting home quickly in case of any emergency is the number one
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
before most nonrider commuters would start considering the bus.
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
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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