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Train delay and perceived-wait time: passengers' perspective

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Waiting time influences the overall perception of service quality. The passenger-perceived waiting time can determine their waiting experience. The concept of waiting time refers to the comparison between the passengers' inherent tolerance of waiting and the possible improvement scenarios. This study investigates the passengers' tolerance of waiting under various scenarios of train delays in order to improve their perceived waiting time. We propose the adoption of a modern psychometric method utilizing the Rasch model to measure a subjective latent construct known as ‘wait tolerance'. The Rasch measurement provides mathematical procedures for transforming scores from an ordinal to an interval scale to observe which scenarios can reduce certain passengers' perceived waiting time in the case of a delay. Empirical results show that ‘uncontrollable circumstances', ‘friendly staff attitudes', and ‘providing appropriate messages of apology' can improve the passenger-perceived waiting time during train delays. Likewise, distinct differences are found in the passengers' tolerance of waiting in terms of various personal characteristics, such as gender, age, and train riding frequency. The findings propose the implementation of strategies for improvement by rail system operators, as well as for regulators to define a reasonable service level in the case of train delays. The reviews show possible future innovative research orientations as well.
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Keywords: Rasch model; passenger-perceived waiting time; tolerance of waiting; train delay; waiting

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Transportation and Communication Management Science, National Cheng Kung University, No.1, University Road, Tainan City 701, Taiwan, R.O.C.

Publication date: November 2, 2014

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