This paper reports on commuters’ perceptions of bus and mini bus taxi service using an alternate to the most popular and commonly used service quality (SERVQUAL) instrument, namely The regional estuarine and coastal systems of the Americas (RECSA). From face-to-face interviews using a structured questionnaire to survey a convenience sample of 690 commuters at specifically selected mini-bus taxi and bus ranks using a commuter intercept survey, it was ascertained that overall the perceived quality of public bus transport services exceeded that of minibus taxis, despite the minibus taxis being the dominant mode of public transport. All the RECSA dimensions of transport service quality influenced the respondents’ perception of public bus service quality, whereas only three, namely reliability, affordability and extent of the service, influenced their perception of the minibus taxis service quality. To improve public road transport service quality, service providers should among others, implement scheduling systems to improve the punctuality of the service, invest in communication systems, introduce a comfort rating system, improve the arrival times at destinations and reduce journey length. They should also improve the condition of the minibus taxi shelters, increase the frequency of the service on certain routes especially during peak periods on weekdays, take commuters closer to their destination through modal integration and elimination of transfers, improve commuter safety, more especially by changing driver behaviour through focused safety and driver training programmes, and improve affordability and provide value for money service. The findings could also serve to inform public transport policy makers and providers, since a public transportation model and policy based on improving the perceived service dimensions is likely to increase the demand for public bus and minibus taxi transport and, reduce the use of private motor cars, thereby addressing the public road transport conundrum in Johannesburg in particular, and South Africa in general.
Key words: Public transport service, minibus taxi service, public bus service transport service quality.