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Performance in urban public transport systems: a critical analysis of the Portuguese case

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Purpose ‐ Services provided by urban public road passenger transport companies in Portugal are associated with widely differing economic and financial outcomes. The objective of this paper is to characterize these differences and discuss the potential contribution offered by the funding model implemented (including how the services provided are being subsidized). Design/methodology/approach ‐ The data available in the management and financial reports published by the six existing Portuguese corporations whose main object is to provide a public road transport service were used to establish a set of performance indicators. The paper takes into account three dimensions: resource-efficiency, service-effectiveness and resource effectiveness. Findings ‐ The comparative analysis implemented contributes crucially to an improved understanding of the current idiosyncrasies of urban public road transportation systems in Portugal, with a special emphasis on the productivity and performance results of different public management approaches. Originality/value ‐ The originality of this paper arises from the case studies presented to support the debate on the influence of local vs central public funding approaches on Portugal's urban public road transport companies' performance.

Keywords: Demand management; Passenger transport; Performance indicators; Portugal; Productivity; Public transport; Subsidies; Transportation demand management

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 14, 2012

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