Conduct research to identify best practices used by transit agencies to better understand the needs of current and potential bus riders. The research should explore the survey methodologies used which could include telephone surveys, online surveys, face-to-face interviews, onboard surveys, public outreach events, interviews with local stakeholders or other innovative techniques to reach users, non-users, and former users of bus transit services. Researchers should also investigate the types of questions that have been asked to each group and how the findings have been used by transit agencies to improve service and increase ridership.
Bus ridership in New Jersey, particularly on local buses, has been steadily dropping in recent years, which is consistent with trends seen by other transit agencies in both the region and around the country. The NJ TRANSIT receives from this project would be used by NJT's planning staff to adjust bus services to better meet the needs of the dynamic population of New Jersey.
Using the initial research findings, the research team will develop draft survey instruments in collaboration with NJ TRANSIT Bus Planning and Market Research. Once the survey methodology and survey questions are agreed upon, a comprehensive survey of existing bus riders, non-riders, and former bus rider should be conducted among a representative sample of New Jersey residents. The survey of non-riders should include questions about the perceptions of existing transit services in New Jersey, the reasons residents are not currently using transit, factors that would encourage residents to begin using transit, and other key questions. Former riders should be asked why they stopped riding buses, what aspects of bus travel were appealing and what aspects were not appealing when they were a customer, and what changes could be made to encourage them to rider buses again. The survey of existing riders should focus on what attributes of service and amenities are most important to them and the types of places they are traveling by bus.
The final product should include detailed findings from each of the surveys along with recommendations for improvements