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Public transit: Rebuild ridership by building trust

July 16, 2021


In brief

Trust in Transit

Rebuild ridership by rebuilding trust

Ridership may return to previous levels, but the riders will be fundamentally different. Operators have the opportunity, if not the obligation, to create passenger experiences that address the values, preferences and even fears of new traveler types.

Reliant passengers (20% of riders)

These passengers are anxious. They depend on public transit and use it often but are stressed by the prospect. To gain their trust:

  • Take visible actions to alleviate health fears
  • Engage in micro-interactions that create high-trust moments
  • Create environments that alleviate stress

Reflective passengers (23% of riders)

These passengers are rethinking their lives and their health. They aren’t changing travel patterns —but are being more careful. To gain their trust:

  • Address health fears
  • Craft short-distance travel offerings
  • Partner with others to create seamless, enjoyable travel experiences

Resilient passengers (28% of riders)

These passengers fared well during lockdown. They worked from home and focused on hobbies and online interests. They were (and are) infrequent transit users. To gain their trust:

  • Give them a reason to leave their homes
  • Offer more perks
  • Offer new services and enhanced experiences

Resigned passengers (28% of riders)

These passengers are likely retired or non-city dwellers. They didn’t travel much before and have little desire to do so now. To gain their trust:

  • Focus on affordability and convenience
  • Offer services—alone or with other providers—in these passengers’ new communities

Make trust the final destination


of passengers do not expect radically different services from their transport operators.


of passengers are satisfied or very satisfied with their current transit services.


of passengers are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with transport services. This suggests a lack of engagement—and an opportunity to enhance services.

Get passenger experiences back on track

Meet our team

Russell Yell

Director – Public Service, Mobility and Cities Lead, Australia

Marcus Fromm

Managing Director – Mobility, Travel and Logistics, Switzerland

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