Original Research

Benefits of transport subsidisation: Comparing findings from a customer perception survey and Most Significant Change Technique interviews

Babette Rabie, Adéle Burger
African Evaluation Journal | Vol 7, No 1 | a371 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aej.v7i1.371 | © 2019 Babette Rabie, Adéle Burger | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 January 2019 | Published: 20 June 2019

About the author(s)

Babette Rabie, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, School of Public Leadership, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Adéle Burger, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, School of Public Leadership, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

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Background: An evaluation of a transport subsidisation programme in the Western Cape, South Africa, was undertaken to capture the outcomes and benefits of the service from the perspective of the bus user.

Objectives: The objective of this article was to compare the findings from the adopted parallel mixed-methods design that included a perception survey and the Most Significant Change (MSC) technique. The article presented the advantages of each approach and reflected on the benefits and challenges in applying the MSC technique.

Method: Data on the intended outcomes of the Provincial Transport Operations Grant programme were collected from 458 commuters on four bus routes through a structured close-ended questionnaire. The MSC technique was applied to collect 69 stories of change that captured changes regarded as most significant by beneficiaries of the public transport subsidy.

Results: It was found that the survey better captured the intended and predetermined objectives of the programme, while the large response group allowed for comparisons and cross-tabulations. The MSC interviews better captured the real-life experience of participants and identified the benefits most valued by commuters, including outcomes not specifically anticipated by the programme. It also served to clarify contradicting responses or ratings on the closed-ended questionnaire and informed further bivariate analysis of the structured questionnaire data.

Conclusion: To maximise benefits from the MSC technique, sufficient time is needed to solicit value responses from respondents, while decision-makers should allow time for multiple iterations and discussions at different levels of the hierarchy.


mixed-methods design; outcome evaluation; value clarification; methodology reflections; public transport programme


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Crossref Citations

1. Editorial – 2019: Omniscience of monitoring and evaluation
Mark A. Abrahams
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