Singapore

Commuter satisfaction down for MRT services, up for taxis, buses

Commuters are less satisfied with MRT train services compared with a year ago, while taxi and public bus services saw an increase in customer satisfaction levels.

This is according to the second quarter Customer Satisfaction Index of Singapore, which was released yesterday by the Singapore Management University's Institute of Service Excellence.

The MRT system scored 64.8 points on a scale of zero to 100, a fall of 1.6 points from the same period last year.

The study, which assessed customer satisfaction levels for the land and air transport sectors, was conducted from April to July this year and polled a total of 6,750 people comprising 4,300 locals and 2,450 tourists.

While "reliability of trains" saw a year-on-year decline in satisfaction rating, other attributes such as "sufficiency of train arrival information" and "helpfulness of staff" had improved ratings.

"It is clear that commuters' perceptions of quality relate to whether train operations are well managed to get them to their destination in an effective manner," said the institute's head of research and consulting Chen Yongchang.

In particular, customer satisfaction for the MRT system in July was found to be significantly lower relative to the preceding three months.

The decline correlated with the commencement of weekday tests of a new signalling system on the North-South Line at the end of May.

Testing caused several disruptions, including a two-hour delay on June 28.

Professor Lee Der-Horng, transport researcher at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the National University of Singapore, said July's dip is likely to be because of the delays resulting from the re-signalling project.

While he thinks that train operators are now more experienced in handling train disruptions, such as in deploying manpower for better crowd management, he said "the main goal is really to eliminate unexpected delays" to win back the favour of commuters.

Meanwhile, public buses registered a score of 64.9 points, a 2.23 point increase year-on-year and taxi services scored 71.8 points, a year-on-year rise of 1.85 points.

Local respondents rated taxis lower on the attribute "comfort of the ride" compared with private-hire cars.

The study also revealed that locals were more satisfied with budget airlines than they were last year, with attributes such as "comfort of the journey" strongly impacting their perception of budget airlines.

Customer satisfaction scores for full service airlines showed no significant change.

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