UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Influence of Socio-Cultural Attributes on Stigmatizing Public Transport in Saudi Arabia Nahiduzzaman, Kh Md; Campisi, Tiziana; Shotorbani, Amin Mohammadpour; Assi, Khaled; Hewage, Kasun; Sadiq, Rehan


Several factors over the years have contributed to stigma in public transport. Many studies have highlighted the need to make the transport system more equitable both from economic and gender perspectives. This study attempts to demonstrate how the perceptions of public transport users and non-users are stigmatized from social and cultural standpoints. Thus, it identifies the social and cultural stigma-induced barriers embedded with the use and people’s general perception about the public bus service, taking SAPTCO (Saudi Public Transport Company) as a case study. The study results suggest that privacy concern is the primary cause of stigma. Most of the users are unwilling to ride with their families as SAPTCO does not account for gender needs (e.g., privacy, travel convenience, safety, comfort, etc.). Moreover, people from the high-income classes are more stigmatized against this ridership. A fuzzy inference system (FIS) model is used to analyze the survey questionnaire responses and understand what stigma means for the public bus service. Expert opinions are employed to generate “if–then” rules of the FIS models. Sensitivity of the defined fuzzy model is conducted to different aspects of the ridership. The study results further suggest that “inconvenience” poses the highest impact while “feeling safe”, “privacy”, “fare”, “timing”, and “comfort” are found to be the medium impact-making variables for stigma. The stigma-defining variables would be critical for the public bus service to improve its service quality and help (re-)design the policies that would attract a high amount of ridership. Some solutions are suggested in the end that would complement, strengthen, and promote the current SAPTCO service. The demonstrated methodology of this study would be relevant and adaptive to any relevant context to improve public transportation service and pertaining policies.

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CC BY 4.0