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Inter-Urban Mass Transit System And Commuter Satisfaction In Owerri Municipal, Imo State




This study assesses the quality of intra-surban mass transport system and commuters satisfaction in Owerri Municipal Nigeria. The specific objectives were To identify the routes of intra-urban public transport to be used in the study, To identify walking distance and the waiting time at bus stops and passengers access to bus pick up and alight areas, To evaluate the mass transit facilities on each route that affect passenger satisfaction, To evaluate passengers’ perception of facilities for each route in the study area. A probabilistic simple random sampling technique was used in the administration of questionnaire to 400 passengers. A five-point Likert scale with “strongly agree” equal 5, “agree” equal 4, “undecided” equal 3, “disagree” equal 2, and “strongly disagree” equal 1 was used in the rating. Maps, descriptive statistics, tables, graphs and percentage analysis were used to summarize the data collected. This study revealed that majority of the passengers (74.5%) walk within the range of 1-400 metres to access a bus, and a total of 73.5% of the passengers waited between 1 – 20 minutes before the arrival of a bus, while 55.5% of the passengers walk to their nearest bus pick up and alight point. Furthermore, the study revealed that passengers showed satisfaction with transport price with a mean of (3.4), and were undecided on the sufficiency of buses and frequency of bus services with a mean of (3.0), resulting to the conclusion that passengers of public bus transport are not satisfied with the services provided in Owerri Municipal. The study therefore recommends “quality indicators” for public bus transport to be used to benchmark high quality.



  • Background to the study

Transport is important for the survival of modern society and without it there would be no life in the city. As an essential service in urban centres, transport enables people, firms and other organizations to carry out their activities at sites selected for these purposes in separate locations in the cities. Transport provides a key to the understanding and operation of many other systems at many different scales and is an epitome of the complex relationships between social and political activities and the level of economic development (Buchannan, 1991; Hoyle and Smith, 1992).

Public transportation systems provide the most efficient means of moving large number of people especially in densely populated urban centres. In addition to the wellbeing of its users, public transport plays a vital role in the productivity of cities which in turn has a direct bearing on the national economies. Public transportation by definition connotes the act or the means of conveying large number of people “en masse” as opposed to conveyance in individual Vehicles carrying very few people at a time. In other words, public transport or mass transit is a system in which a greater number of people are moved at a time along principal corridors. Public transport or mass transit comprises mainly of the rail system, light rail system, Tram ways and monorails, bus system and where possible water transportation (Wikipedia, 2009).

The life wire of any nation is fundamentally tied to the fact that mobility and accessibility are essential to the achievement of socio-economic goals. Before the advent of modern transportation system, man facilitated movement with the help of camel, horses and oxen which were domesticated to follow a particular track often created to link human settlements. These animals were used to pull loads on cart wheels, the first of which were developed by the natives of North America and later spread to Europe, India and China in 3000-4000 BC. The first organised omnibus public transit system within the city originated in Paris, France, in 1662 (Fitzgerald, 2012). Also in 1769 Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot was credited to have built the first-propelled mechanical vehicle or automobile, by adapting an existing horse-drawn vehicle and by July 1826 the first omnibus was introduced into London. Public transport refers to the means by which larger proportions of urban dwellers gain physical access to the goods, services, and activities they need for their livelihoods and well-being (Fitzgerald, 2012).  For urban areas, there are two types of transport: intra-urban and intra-urban. Intra-urban Public transport means movement of freights and passengers within an urban area.

Progressively, the need for the mass movement of commuters within the urban area has been growing. Indeed, right from the industrial revolution in the 18th century through the pre-colonial African societies’, colonial era and present day societies, mass movement of commuters are intertwined with the level of positive urbanization of any town or city. This has been evidenced in several parts of the world. For instance Lyndon, (2006) studied the impact of mass transport system in commuters satisfaction in London as also evidenced in various parts of Europe

The variables for satisfaction used spans from safety, comfort and punctuality. The researcher’s discovery showed that punctuality. The researcher’s discovery showed that punctuality of mass transit facilities played the most important part in the satisfaction of mass transit users. Equally, (Ayanda and Krishna, 2014) made a similar investigation in Johannesburg in South Africa and discovered the role of public transit on commuter satisfaction and the need to take cognizance of their perception of these facilities to make viable improvements. However improvement in intra urban transport, especially in the recent decades has become more challenging because of the astronomical increase in urban population in cities all over the world.

In Nigeria, the pace of urbanization has been dramatic showing extraordinarily high rates of 5-10 percent per annum (Egunjobi, 1999; Ogunsanya, 2002). Consequently, there has been rapid expansion of Nigerian cities’ areal extent, which is now tenfold their initial point of growth (Oyesiku, 2002). A critical aspect of this is that city growth and expansion in Nigeria has been largely uncontrolled. One of the major functions of the spatial structure of any human settlement is to facilitate the movement of people and goods within the settlement.

The post-colonial Nigeria economy experienced boom with high rate of urbanization due to population increase because of intense rural-urban migration. This resulted into increased demand for vehicular activities particular buses to convey people from one point to another. The phenomenal increase in population and city size was noticeable in most cities especially state capitals and local government headquarters. (Osuji, 2013) asserted that the population of Owerri grew at a phenomenal rate of about 15% annually. In Ibadan, It was predicted that for every additional 1,000 people, in developing cities, an extra 350-400 cubic transport trips per day would be generated (Adesanya, 2001). Similarly, for every additional square of city growth, an extra 500 public transport trips per day will be generated (UITP 1975 & 1979; Jacob et al, 1987). Furthermore, a city like Owerri with a population of 401,873 in 2006 was projected to have about 575,439 populations by 2019 (FRN GAZETTE VOL 94). The resultant effect of this on transportation will create great challenges for government. While there will be need to reduce traffic congestion, air pollution and increased traffic-related safety, lost in productive man hour could negatively influence the socio-economic fabric of the urban society.

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In Nigeria the need for an effective transport system becomes more obvious if taken into consideration the large size of the country and the need to disperse development move. The inability of Nigerians to device a better transportation system has been a detraction of the growth of the economic social and political life of the economy. Prominent among the problem, includes traveling difficulty, lateness to work, difficulty in the movement of agricultural product, goods and services from area of production to area of consumption and utilization.

Today, experiences show a need for a greater variety of public transport modes, but buses are choice of a majority of the communities and are the only means of mobility that can be afforded by the poor in Developing countries of the World (Armstrong-Wright, 1993). The choice of any or a combination of the Public transportation systems enumerated above could be influenced by population and area/size of the City, their transportation demand and characteristics and land use pattern. Given our level of Technological development, the bus system is chosen in this work.

Bus system is the dominant mode of motored transport in Third World cities. The bus system is the Transportation system that uses bus which have a range of passenger capacities and performance Characteristics, and may operate on fixed routes with fixed schedules, or may be flexibly routed (Smerk, 1994). Bus also called Omnibus is any of a class of large self-propelled wheeled vehicles that is designed to carry passengers generally on fixed routes. Because of low incomes for the majority inhabitants in the Cities of developing countries, buses provide the only mode of transport that they can afford (Armstrong-Wright, 1993). Bus system has the potential of being used as a policy tool to reduce the number of cars or urban roads and so reduce traffic chaos in the city. It has also the potential of extending Transportation services to a greater proportion of urban residents who do not have private cars, and cannot afford frequent taxis fares. These are “captive bus riders. The bus riders seek a convenient ride between their points of origin and destination. They do not wish to walk very far to their bus stops having arrived at the bus stop, they also do not wish to wait very long time. Added to this, they require comfortable ride at a fare which they can afford.

For a while now, Owerri Municipal city has been experiencing rapid population and expansion of its environment due to influx of migrants from rural areas to it. The growth was accompanied by a substantial expansion of the city’s boundaries and much higher level of economic and social activities. These have led to the extension of low-income unplanned settlements on the city peripheries and workers from the areas are exerting increasing pressure on already inadequate public transportation facilities. The high cost of car purchasing and maintenance in Nigeria now due to economic meltdown, the spreading of suburbs and transformation of villages into dormitory settlements, have also created residential-to-work transportation problem in Owerri as a result of inefficient public transport systems especially bus system.

A cursory look at urban transportation services in Owerri Municipal city reveals that buses are the most popular mode due to mass movement of people, cheaper fare, high level of reliability, and safety. So this research therefore would focus on conditions of mass transit and passenger satisfaction in owerri municipal.

  • Statement of the research problem

In Owerri Municipal, the intra-urban Public transport facilities are majorly centred on buses, well designated bus stops, lay-by spaces, defined routes, etc. Various problems plague these facilities ranging from inadequate number of buses to match the number of commuters, poor demand and supply of road spaces (like lay by spaces at the bus stops, carriageway) to keep up with the demand. These problems have threatened efficient operations and management of the conditons public transport in Owerri

In the case of Owerri Metropolis, the quality of passenger bus services is poor in terms of the time spent in waiting for a bus to get filled up by passengers, the Overload of passengers in the bus especially on the engine seat of the buses, hanging of bus Conductors on the door due to the nature of congestion in the bus, driving of buses by unskilled Persons, the use of rickety buses which usually breakdown along the road, and improper fare Charges for example in a place like Relief Market to Pax Junction to Mbari where passengers are told to pay a fixed amount of money no matter where they’d alight. As a result of the above problems, passengers tend to be discouraged from patronizing the public bus services within Owerri Municipal especially private cars owners. Thus this limits the achievement of the National Transport Policy of Nigeria 2010 in promoting the use of public transport over private cars.

From the exploratory survey of the study area, the routes identified for the purpose of this study includes: Douglas Road, Mbaise Road, Tetlow Road, Wetheral Road, and Aba Road. The numbers of buses plying the routes in Owerri urban seem to be more than the terminal spaces provided, therefore causing the remaining to float or make do with the bus stops. Also just one terminal point has been identified which was formerly a bus stop. The operators strive to accommodate their buses within the limited space provided as there has been serious congestion from long queues stretching backwards from the terminal space unto traffic lanes and stationary buses in the terminal. These bus stops are shared by buses going on different routes and the result has been serious traffic congestion at these bus stops especially at peak hours as the lay by spaces is unable to cope with the extra demand not envisaged earlier in their planning. At certain points, these bus stops have been turned into terminals where they stop for longer duration as they call for passengers.

These problems are most conspicuous around the existing bus stops and the on street parking areas to the smooth traffic flow. The scramble for space at these bus stops and terminals spread on to the traffic lanes and result into heavy traffic jams that stretch several metres backwards while ahead. The situation is worse in the bus stops that are located around the road junctions such as Emmanuel College roundabout, Fire Service Roundabout, Cherubim Junction where vehicles converge or need to diverge into different directions as i indicated.

Also there seems to be an overwhelming number of commuters not commensurate with available transit modes resulting in overloading of buses. There is lack of adequate waiting space at the bus stops to accommodate the huge number of passenger particularly in the bus stops and the terminal at Emmanuel College. The result is jostling and stampedes as commuters try to find standing space while others try to break through the crowd to board the arriving vehicles. This problem is worsened during rainy seasons as commuters have no shelter from the rain.

  • Aim and Objectives
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The aim of this study is to critically assess the relationship between the intra-urban public transit system and commuters satisfaction in Owerri Municipal, in order to improving and encouraging public transport system.

To be able to achieve this aim, the following objectives were put forth:

  1. Identify factors influencing passengers satisfaction in the study area;
  2. Identify walking distance and the waiting time at bus stops and passengers access to bus pick up and alight areas.
  • Evaluate the mass transit facilities on each route that affect passenger satisfaction.
  1. Evaluate passengers’ perception of facilities for each route.


  • Research Questions
  1. What are the the factors influencing passenger satisfaction in Owerri Municipal?
  2. What is the walking distance and the waiting time at bus stops and passengers access to bus pick up and alight areas?
  • What ways do the mass transit facilities on each route affect passenger satisfaction?
  1. What are the commuters’ perceptions of the transit facilities for each of the route?


  • Research Hypothesis

Ho: There is no significant relationship between public transport facilities in the study area and commuter satisfaction.

H1: There is significant relationship between public transport facilities in the study area and commuter satisfaction.

  • Scope of the Study

The study will basically focus on the efficiency of bus services on selected routes with their attendant facilities and the extent of how they are able to satisfy their users. This study will estimate the waiting time and travel time for a passenger, determine the service quality of the public transport facilities that influences passenger satisfaction, investigate the perception of passengers on the quality of the public transport facilities and map out the coverage area and route of the public transport and the facilities under survey in the study.

The facilities under the survey will majorly be centred on the lay by spaces, bus stops, the public transport modes and defined routes. The major routes assessed that are being run by this public transport under this survey have been identified to include: Douglas Road, Mbaise Road, Tetlow Road, Wetheral Road, Aba Road.

The spatial scope of Owerri urban is premised on the fact that Owerri is seen as a city of commerce and civil servants who go to work. Thus, the need for people to move freely from places of work and business to their homes arises. As such the public transport has a significant role to play in helping the people fulfill their daily activities.

Information from this analysis forms the basis knowledge upon which policies and planning recommendation are made at the end of the study. The study was carried out for a period of 5days.

  • Limitation of the Study

This study was aimed at assessing the public transport facilities and passenger satisfaction and the researcher faced some limitations while trying to get data required for the study. The research work was threatened by the delay and incomplete return of questionnaires as well as the difficulty to extract information from the touts and operators who would be hostile and suspicious of the exercise, the commuters who are rather too impatient to give the researcher any attention and of course the limited time the researcher had to work under with pressure.

  • Significance of the Study

The need to understand the quality of intra urban bus services cannot be overemphasized. Knowledge about the quality of intra urban bus services is important for transport policy formulation to improve the efficiency of urban bus services. One of the policy objectives of the Draft National Transport Policy, August, 2010 of Nigeria is to promote the use of public Transport over private cars, and in trying to achieve this, the quality of bus services is of important value to the passengers. Improving the efficiency of public transport services can lead to reduce system congestion, reduced delay, improving delivery time and a safe and environment. This can also help other researcher to expand knowledge on the intra-urban public transport services in Owerri municipal, The study would help various urban transport service providers to develop new insights in marketing strategies by being able to offer the best service to their commuter’s so as to retain and maintain them. The study would also help various stakeholders such as government, bus owners and bus operators segment their target market so as to be in a position to serve that niche very well and this would make the service providers to be beyond competitors. The study would assess the overall commuter’s satisfaction in commercial bus operations by revealing the importance of attracting, acquiring, winning and retaining commuters as a key success factor to win the competitive environment.

The study would also help policy makers in the country understand the economic contribution of public urban transport industry in order for them to make strategic decisions involved in the running of business.

  • Study Area

Owerri municipal is the capital city of Imo state, which was founded in 1976. Owerri municipal has an urban setting with 5 autonomous community which include; Umuororonjo, Amawom, Umuonyeche, Umuodu and Umuoyima, The apex traditional institution in the area is the “Oha Owerri” elder’s council, which in the area, is also the judicial arm of government (settling all dispute and other matters). “Onyeishi ala Owerri” is the traditional chief priest of the community. Owerri Municipal also covers the following areas which are identified as: Ikenegbu, Aladimma,Work layout, Okigwe road, Onitsha road, Port-Harcort Road, Aba road and Mbaise road. Owerri Municipal in Imo state, Nigeria is located within latitude 5.4833N and longitude 7.03041E. That is 5.4833N 7.035E coordinates: 5.485N 7.035E

1.9.1  Rainfall

The study area is within the rain forest belt of Nigeria. Two distinct condition or season (ie wet and dry season) exists. These two regimes are derived from the different air masses prevailing over the country at different times of the year namely; the dry northeast air mass of Sahara origin (tropical continental air mass) which is responsible for the dry season. It blows across the Sahara desert towards Nigeria. This wind pushes the southeast wind further towards the coast where the tropical front is now formed. It is cold, dusty and dry; hence, it does not bring rain. Rather, it brings very cold, dusty, and dry weather called harmattan. It usually starts from November and ends around February and the humid tropical maritime air mass (south west trade wind) originating from the south atlantics. It blows from the high pressure belt area in the south in June to the low pressure belt in the north. This then pushes the tropical continental air mass towards the north where the inter-tropical front is formed. That is, the wind blows across the Atlantic oceans towards the coast of Nigeria. The wind is warm and wet; hence it brings rainfall to the study area. The rainfall decreases towards the northern part of Nigeria. It usually starts around March and ends around October with a short dry period in August called August break.

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The rainfall pattern in the area is oscillatory, that is convectional rainfall occurs in area intensively heated like the study area. This results in heavy rain, accompanied by thunder and lightning. The area is characterised by heavy winds, lightning and thunder storm accompanied with heavy rain. The two peak periods are usually between June and September. The annual rainfall ranges from 1600-2900mm.The least amount of rainfall occurs in January. In June, the precipitation reaches its peak, with an average of 363 mm.

Figure 1.4: AverageRainfall Chart in Owerri

(b)     Temperature

Temperature of the study area is the measure of the degree of hotness or coldness of the place. The average temperature of the study area is usually 27c because of the cooling effects of the Atlantic Ocean. Monthly temperature is highest in Marchwith a value of 27.90c while the lowest on an average is 25.7c which is recorded in August.

(c)      Humidity

Hot/warm air, accompanied by a rise in relative humidity rises. The rising air becomes saturated and water vapour condenses with cloud being formed quickly.

(d)     Soil

The study area, Owerri Municipal, lies geologically within Benin formation. This formation is made up of friable sands with intercalations of clay and shale. The sand units are mostly coarse grained pebbly, poorly sorted and contains lenses of fine grained sands.

In Owerri Municipal, solid wastes are mostly deposited into open dumps and landfills. This is because landfills are simple, cheapest and most effective method of disposing wastes. The landfills are poorly conceptualized in design with no adequate engineered systems to contain landfill emissions. They are indiscriminately silted within the Municipal without regard to the nature of soil, hydrogeology and proximity to living quarters. The most dominant waste in the study area is mainly decomposing household, Municipal and hazardous waste.

(e)      Vegetation

The area lies in the rainforest belt of south-eastern Nigeria characterized by low land tropical rainforest, which has virtually given way to secondary re-growth of mostly tree crops and shrubs separated by crops at various stages of growth. In the area, vegetation plays the dual role of humus supply and protection of the soil from soil erosion.

The tropical rain forest is found or located along the equator (i.e. within 5 north and south of the equator). The characteristics this rain forest exhibits are:

  1. The mean monthly temperature is about 27°C.
  2. It experiences abundant sunshine and has fertile soil.
  3. The forest is evergreen and could be up to 60m in height with broad leaves.
  4. There are various inter locking branches having layers of tree lower, middle and upper storeys or canopies.
  5. Trees are of great varieties i.e. heterogeneous, big and robust.
  6. The humidity is high.
  7. The temperature is high all the year round.

1.9.2 Population And Activities

. The 1991 population Of Owerri Metropolis was 289, 721 [NPC, 1991], in 1998 the projected population was put at 353, 665 people [Imo State Government, 2000], while in 2006 the population was 401, 873 [NPC 2006] with about 17,000 households including shops and offices.

  • Brief History Of Owerri City, Land-Use And Its Transport Infrastructure

Imo State was created with Owerri as its capital. As at the time of its creation, a large Number of people moved into it bringing about sudden population growth with the Attendant excess demands on its existing low infrastructure facilities. The idea of twin City was conceived at the time of Imo State creation to marry the old town of Owerri and The new one in a manner that avoids the juxtaposition of a shanty town with a beautiful Ultra-modern city. A tangential road system was selected to provide solution to traffic congestion (prevalent in most cities of Nigeria) by the ease of dispersal of vehicular traffic. Owerri lies in the centre of a radial road network within the Southern part of the former East Central state. Six major roads from Onitsha, Port Harcourt, Orlu, Okigwe, Umuahia and Aba, all intercept at Owerri city. Therefore in order for the city to function, a simple and expandable traffic concept was provided for. This is a hierarchy of a tangential road System, which guarantees a high flexibility applicable to every stage of development and Adaptable to the existing road network.

  • Land Use Patterns

A central nucleus formed by the government and residential areas accompany a commercial centre on all sides. Major employment sites are located north and south of the residential areas. The maximum walking time from the immediate residential area to the central government area is not more than 30 minutes. According to the landsat image below it is shown that the predominant land use of owerri are the built up areas for infrastructural development

Fig1: Map showing Owerri and 2014 LandUse Classification

Source: ArcGIS online maps

Fig.2: Map showing Owerri and 2014 LandUse Classification

Source: ArcGIS online maps

  • Main Road Network

A loop of external tangents surrounds the city viz; Okigwe Road, Douglas Road, Wetheral Road and Aba Road (this is the old city of Owerri). Middle tangents (Mbaise Road, Christ Church Road, Old Okigwe Road) connect the different districts of the city and are linked with the external tangents.

Fig 3: Major Road Networks in Owerri Metropolis


 1.9.6. Transport Modes in Use in the City and their Characteristics

As stated before, the main transport modes in use in Owerri are the public, private transport mod. The Major routes identified for this study includes Douglas Road, Onitsha Road, Tetlow Road, Wetheral Road, PH Road, Ikenegbu Road, Aba Road

  1. Public Transport Mode

This mode can be broken down into the following mode systems of units namely; the Minibuses, luxury buses, pickups, and trucks for group age freight carriage etc. The Minibuses are used to convey passengers and sometimes freight from the city centre to the metropolitan areas.

  • Infrastructural Facilities

Owerri Metropolis has some noticeable roads like Port Harcourt road, Aba road, Onitsha road, Okigwe road; within the city are Douglas Road, Wetheral Road, Tetlow Road and Works Road. They have schools, pipe borne water, electricity.

  • Economic Activities

The Inhabitants are mainly traders, artisans, civil servants and public servant etc. But they are mainly engaged in commercial activities and civil service.


Fig. 1.4: Study Area on Its National Context

Sources: (2019)




Fig 1.5: Study area in its Regional context

Source: ARCGIS Map 9.3

Pages:  93

Category: Project

Format:  Word & PDF               

Chapters: 1-5                                          

Source: Imsuinfo

Material contains Table of Content, Abstract and References.


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