- Background of the study
Customer satisfaction is crucial for the success and survival of any business. It is one of the important determinants of loyalty. That’s why; it is a key aspect of companies’ strategic planning. Customer satisfaction is a sense of pleasure and bliss as one feels after purchase or usage. Before making a purchase, customers have some expectations about the performance of product and services. If the products meet or exceed their expectations then it can be said that customers are satisfied and delighted. On the other hand, when actual performance does not meet or falls below their expectations it can be said that they are dissatisfied. Organizations know that one satisfied customer tells his/her feelings regarding products and services to five other people while on the other hand one dissatisfied customer tells his/her experience to ten other people that creates a bad impression among existing as well as new customers (James, 2010). And customers with the passage of time measure how much service providers add value in their service that influences their satisfaction level. As previous studies indicated a significant relationship exists between service quality dimensions and customer satisfaction (Sachdev and Verma, 2004). The five dimensions tangibility, reliability, assurance, empathy and responsiveness are positively correlated with satisfaction of customers and they contribute a lot to customer satisfaction (Parasuraman et al., 1988; Arokiasamy and Abdullah, 2013).
Satisfaction is defined as an experience of fulfillment of an expected outcome. Sigala (2004) sees satisfaction or dissatisfaction with a program or facilities influenced by expectations regarding the level of quality. Satisfaction depends on numerous factors and there is no dearth of literatures on this subject. Previous studies explained that customers want the best service quality and responses as well to what they want (Zheng and Jiaqing, 2007).
According to Anderson et al. (2007) explained that operation failures of services such as delay of transportation as a factor that affects customers’ satisfaction and this creates bias to customers and thereby resulting in dissatisfaction. Studies further explained friendliness of the personnel especially bus driver behavior in relation to service frequency to have an impact on customer satisfaction, by bringing better communication and knowledge of its customers’ needs (Disney, 1998). Taylor et al., (2008) explained that frequent services increase satisfaction and urban transportation patronage. Study by Cavana and Corbett (2007) see reliability, convenience and responsiveness as important factors that bring about customer satisfaction.
Consumer choices affect the perceived level of operation such as the length of the path, travel time, the number of service and frequency of bus services. Waiting time for long, failure to provide information of occasional delays and lack of good waiting environment are other factors or causes of customer dissatisfaction (Bielen & Demoulin, 2007). Esteban et al., (2002) defined service as the backbone of the industries which ensure the rising and development of the economies. Studies by Lytle and Timmerman (2006) revealed that service orientation is the path which adds value to the customer and creates satisfaction, and also gives a competitive advantage thereby leads to development and profitability. In 2005, Tran and Kleiner defined public transportation as a conveyance that provides continuing general or special transportation to the public. It was further revealed that public transportation plays a significant role as it improves the quality of our day-to-day life by expediting traffic saves money and creates new jobs.
Over the last two decades, the urban public transport was devaluated on the score of functional aspect, and it could supply the increased requirements more difficult. In general, local transit providers supply the urban transit services due to the efficiency in Nigeria. From the literature, it is evident that satisfaction is essential component for economic success (Stauss and Neuhaus, 1997, Muffatto and Panizzolo, 1995). The consumer will be satisfied if the service gives value for him or her (Dumond, 2000). In case of public transport, the purchase decision is routine (Józsa, 2005), the majority of passengers regularly use the bus routes. It is evident that public transit provider has to pay attention to the unsatisfied commuters because of the negative word-of-mouth communication, the complaining, and the switching.
Further, several previous researchers have determined the segments from the perspective of choice to travel mode (Krizek and El-Geneidy, 2007; Bekhor and Elgar, 2007). In general, metropolitan areas were preferred in the field of urban public transport and very little has been published on those towns where the inhabitant might choose between bus service and individual transport. Little or no attention has been giving to analysis of customers’ satisfaction in public transport in Ibadan, Oyo-State, Nigeria, hence this study.
1.2 Statement of problem
Transport needs of major cities in Nigeria now present significant challenges for policy makers as unpredictable shifts in population dynamics in response to the need for employment, housing, and sustenance continues. The expansion of the cities in Nigeria, coupled with increasing urban population, results in greater demand for transport provision. This demand has, however, not always been met, and efforts to provide adequate transport infrastructural facilities are ad hoc, uncoordinated, and poor (Aderamo 2008).
Commonly identified urban transport problems in Nigerian cities are long waiting times for buses, traffic congestion, parking difficulties, air pollution, and traffic accidents (Asiyanbola 2007; Aderamo 2010; Ashiedu 2011). This is because of the increasing travel demand and preferences in using private vehicles in Nigerian cities (Afolabi 2008; Banjo 2008). To prevent more problems caused by the rise in demand for urban transport and increase in private motorization, it is highly recommended by many researchers as well as public decision makers to provide an attractive public transport service as an alternative transport mode in many cities (Banjo 2008, Federal Government of Nigeria 2010).
To improve the public bus transport system in Ibadan, it is important to elicit insights from actual passengers of the system about changes they would like to see to better meet their needs. This is because the provision of public bus transport services is passenger-centered. By identifying the key dimensions that offer value and influence passenger satisfaction, alternative bus strategies can be devised so that more people (especially private Car owners) opt in favor of this service. In turn, this would alleviate the present traffic congestion and related problems faced by the city of Ibadan and its population.
Previous studies on public bus transport services at national and local levels focused on constraints (Aworemi 2009; Aderamo 2010), impacts (Gbadamosi2009; Ashiedu 2011), and the effect of congestion on vehicle movement (Ibitoye et al.2012), but there is scant literature on passenger satisfaction with levels of public bus service provision in Nigerian cities. To keep and attract more bus passengers, public bus transport must have high service quality to satisfy and fulfill a wider range of different passenger needs. Increases in passenger satisfaction are translated into retained markets, increased use of the system, new customers, and more positive public image.
To accomplish these ends, transit needs reliable and efficient method for identifying the determinants of service quality from customer perceptions. Thus, the focus of this paper is to investigate the service quality attributes that influence customers’ satisfaction with the public bus transport system in Ibadan.
1.3 Research Questions
1) What extent are the customers satisfied with public transport in Ibadan?
2) What quality services rendered by public transport service to their customers?
3) Does bus driver behaviour have effect on customers’ patronage?
4) Does waiting time of the customers’ have any significant effect on public transport patronage?
5) Does pace-setter Company have adequate modern technology and infrastructure to meet the satisfaction of their customers?
1.4 Research Objective
The general objective of the study is to examine the influence of customers satisfaction on public transport service.
The specific objectives of this study are:
- To assess the extent which the customers are satisfied with public transport service
- To describe the quality services rendered by public transport company to their customers
- To examine the influence of bus driver behavior on customers’ patronage
- To correlate the influence of waiting time of customers on public transport patronage
- To ascertain the influence of adequate technology and infrastructure of pace-setter company in meeting the customers’ satisfaction
1.5 Research Hypothesis
H1: There is no significant relationship between customers’ satisfaction and public transport service
H2: There is no significant association between bus driver’s behaviour and customers’ patronage
H3: Waiting time of customers have no significant relationship with public transport patronage
1.6 Significance of the study
The study is very useful to the Oyo state Government so that further improvement can be made in the aspect of management and general operation. It also portrays the usefulness of the public transport to the people of Oyo state (especially the users and operators of the public transport) on how to utilize and maintain the public transport efficiently.
The study is also useful to other tertiary students, who may want to research further on public transport in the nearest future; it serves as a guide to writing similar report. The study is also useful to the Government of other states that wants to balance their cards on the advantages the provision of public transport may have on their states.
1.7. Scope and limitations.
Many problems were encountered during the course of the research work. Problems like: The collation of the research data which was not easy; from collation, sorting and picking relevant materials was a stressful task. Another is that most of the questionnaires distributed to the operators and users were not filled because of their educational status (illiterates). The use of face to face interview was adopted mostly, which was another work entirely. The risk involved in transporting from one place to another, and the total cost of transporting was on the high side.
Vital information on the part of the operators was not revealed; such as: their income and some other relevant ones. Time assigned for the research (2 semesters) was also constraints and thus limit the quantity of data collection.. Prolonged time would have led to more accurate data. Lastly, some vital questions on the questionnaire were left unanswered by the operators and users because the Ajumose vehicle is always overcrowded, and ones the bus leaves for its destination, it is always a difficult task to attend to users and fill questionnaires at the same time (for operators); and also stand and fill questionnaires (for users).
The financial resources available for the study also made it impossible to administer more questionnaires. It also limits the researcher visit to our entire respondent in various location of the state. Personal interview were however stated objectives administered on some of respondent to have a wider coverage of information on the subject matter. However, the above constraint and problems notwithstanding the necessary information were obtained to achieve the objectives.
1.8. Definition of terms
Route: A vertical or horizontal way taken by vehicles in getting from a starting point to a destination.
Automobile: A road vehicle typically with four wheels, powered by an internal combustion engine or electric motor, and able to carry a small number of people.
Congestion: The state of temporal hold-up on the road, due to the high-rate of vehicles plying the road at a particular time. It is predominantly during the peak periods.
Facilities: An amenity or resources necessary for doing something.
Fare Structure: The system set-up to determine how much is to be paid by various passengers using a transit vehicle at any giving time.
Operator: A person who controls equipments and machines such as vehicles.
Pollution: The presence in, or introduction into the environment of substance on things that harmful or poisonous effects.
Private public transport: Public transport provided by private individuals, private companies or organizations, group provision and many more, which does not include the government participation in its provision.
Public Transport: A system of vehicles such as buses and trains that operate at regular times on fixed routes and used by the public.
Service: These are the action of helping or doing work for someone.
Shuttle: A form of transportation that travels regularly between two or more places.
Transit: The carrying of people, goods, or materials from one place to another.
Transportation: The movement of people, goods, services, and information from one place to another via a particular medium (railway, road, water, and air), for a particular purpose, and at a particular time.