Increasing public transport ridership is now a common worldwide strategy for growing cities facing the economic, social and environmental problems of increasing traffic congestion. While much is understood about the sensitivity of travel markets to changes in fares and service levels, little is known about the routine fluctuations in the frequency of use of individual users. We do not know the true number of transit riders that are being gained (customer acquisitions) and lost (customer defections) as opposed to aggregate net effects. This builds on the ‘Leaky Bucket’ Theory of market change and is commonly associated with the marketing concept of market churn. This builds on market research that suggests retaining existing customers, is a more cost effective and time efficient approach than trying to attract new customers.
This project focuses on measuring ‘customer fluctuation’, or significant changes in the frequency of use of individual users to strengthen our understanding of public transport markets. This concept seeks to consider the impact of new, lost and retained customers to understand a clearer picture of market change. This information could then be applied in real word situations as a comparative tool for better understanding market share and attitudes across different public transport routes and modes.
The project will explore:
- The rate of customer fluctuation in bus markets including variations by route, mode and demographic data
- The factors that influence the occurrence of customer fluctuation through individual interviews
- Practical applications for customer fluctuation within the public transport industry.
This project is part of the Sustainable and Effective Public Transport – Graduate Research Industry Partnership (SEPT-GRIP) and was supervised by Professor Graham Currie. The project was undertaken by Prudence Blake and sponsored by BusVic and Monash University.
The thesis is available online here.