271 | Do Bus and Minibus Taxi drivers prefer the same Level of Service as passengers do?

A few years ago I tried conducting a survey that matches driver and passenger preferences in bus and minibus markets.

This was presented at the World Conference on Transport Research’s Special Interest Group on Pricing and Regulation.

It was a promising pilot, but it had significant errors (survey design, estimation and structure). The elements of this study that were useful were repurposed in other more recent publications.

This paper, I hope, brings hope to anyone else trying to do the same thing– I am quite keen to redo this soon.


Passenger transport level of service (LOS) design tends to be consumer (user) oriented, and producer (operators) preferences are seldom considered. This is partly due to the assumption that transports service producers (TSPs) are governed by contracts and or operational costs.

This study presents a unique approach to formulating multi-segment specific pilot studies in order to pursue a broader framework for larger scale data collection.

The main objective of this paper is to capture service preferences of local bus and paratransit TSPs and journey makers for each mode through predetermined a blocked fractional factorial design that convers temporal, monetary and quality related attributes of the LOS design for each mode. Two main hypotheses are tested.

Firstly we explore whether there are differences between scheduled and unscheduled operator LOS preferences. Secondly, we ask whether there are differences between respondents who travel by scheduled and unscheduled services in terms of the influence of service attribute parameters on the utility they derive from their mode of choice.

This study uniquely presents preliminary results related to the untapped characteristics of operators in minibus and bus markets, as some operators are mobile across modes in order to provide for numerous dependents. The extent to which LOS preference utility functions between operators and users are similar or distinct in a peri-urban context is also shown.

Operators derive greater utility from higher prices, while users experience such as a disutility. Minibus operators have a higher value of time than bus operators. Minibus users are very sensitive to service quality (i.e. crowdedness) while bus users are willing to wait longer in order to secure a seat.

The study applies a systematic approach to collecting multidimensional and context specific data for paratransit and transit services that enable deep understanding of systems and service design. Mahikeng, a town in the North West Province of South Africa is used as a case study.

The limitation of this study is that it does not capture demographic data in the model estimation due to the size of the sample, however this is overshadowed by the qualitative syntheses from discussions with respondents.

Access to the Working Paper

You can access the Working Paper by clicking here.

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