Chapel Hill Transit survey results

The recent Chapel Hill Transit survey shows residents and riders give public transportation in Chapel Hill/Carrboro high ratings but that expanded hours and weekend service improvements needed.

Transit passengers and residents of Chapel Hill and Carrboro rate transit service in Chapel Hill/Carrboro much higher than the national average, according to surveys conducted by market research firm ETC Institute of Olathe, Kansas for Chapel Hill Transit (CHT) in May 2010.

Eighty-eight percent of riders rated the overall quality of CHT service as excellent or good, while 86 percent of residents surveyed consider the adequacy of public transportation in Chapel Hill/Carrboro to be excellent or good.  In a nationwide survey conducted by ETC Institute in 2010, only 43 percent of Americans had positive ratings about the adequacy of public transportation services in their communities. 

Aspects of CHT service that received the highest satisfaction ratings from riders were: how safe riders feel while using the bus, how close bus stops are to riders' workplaces, bus drivers' courtesy, knowledge of services, and safe driving, and the cleanliness and maintenance of buses.  Riders most want to see improvements in weekday hours of service, and weekend service.

"We're pleased to see so much support for the services provided by Chapel Hill Transit from both riders and residents," said Chapel Hill Town Council Mayor Pro Tem and CHT Partner's Committee Chair Jim Ward.  "The survey also revealed areas where we need to improve, and we will work with our partners at UNC-Chapel Hill and the Town of Carrboro to develop service proposals aimed at addressing these issues."

One third (33 percent) of CHT riders are relatively new to the system, having been riding one year or less.  More than half (57 percent) of riders indicated that they would have used a vehicle for their trip if CHT service had not been available, indicating that CHT plays a significant role in reducing congestion and greenhouse gas emissions in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro area.  Three quarters (75 percent) of riders use CHT services five or more days a week; and seven of ten riders (70 percent) were going to or from work when surveyed. 

While timeliness of buses is the most important aspect of service to CHT passengers, more than three-quarters (77 percent) of riders indicated that they were satisfied or very satisfied with that aspect of service. 

In a survey of Chapel Hill and Carrboro residents, most (95 percent) felt it is somewhat or very important for Chapel Hill and Carrboro to support public transportation.  "I was impressed by the level of importance that most residents placed on public transit services in this area," said Chris Tatham of ETC Institute.  "Ninety-five percent of those surveyed thought it was important for the Towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro to fund public transit, which is much higher than I see in most communities."

The report of survey results is available on Chapel Hill Transit's website at