The Greek Hub conducted the first round of its mystery shopping survey during October-November 2019, at the start of the TInnGO project in order to use the survey results as input for the hub activities. Find more regarding the first mystery shopping survey here: https://transportgenderobservatory.eu/2020/03/25/mystery-shopping-survey-in-thessalonikis-public-transport/.
Lever iterated the mystery shopping survey, on the finish line of the project, in order to evaluate any changes that occurred during this 3-year period. The Greek hub’s activities during the lifetime of the project aimed to promote gender mainstreaming as well as improve a) Safety & Security and b) Comfort & Customer Service for the public transportation of Thessaloniki. Any previous challenges and difficulties that local stakeholders and operators were facing during the day-to-day operation of the public transport system, were coupled with further challenges mainly due to impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In this context, Lever revisited public bus stations and stops, travelled throughout the city’s network with the local and regional busses and further assessed certain parameters of the bus transportation system. The methodological approach was the same as in the first iteration of the survey in order for results to be comparable. The majority of the same bus lines were selected and significant coverage of the city’s area was once more achieved. The mystery shoppers behaved as normal passengers while travelling around the city, filling their evaluation forms.
Approximately 15 bus lines were selected and the mystery shoppers travelled throughout the city for four weekdays among three different weeks during peak hour periods both at morning as well as during the evening (08:00-11:00, 15:00-18:00). Information such as delay times, cleanliness, crowdedness, assistance and more, was collected and assessed.
Overall, the assessment can be concluded with the following:
- Bus frequency has been slightly improved
- Cleanliness both within as well as off the busses is partially improved, especially within the busses
- Busses during the peak hour are still extremely overcrowded, which can further magnify pandemic issues
- Customer service is not as improved
- Overall experience for the mystery shoppers is similar to the previous survey
The results of the survey will be disseminated locally, and they will be further used to highlight the issue of gendered equal access in the city of Thessaloniki and promote the planning and implementation of measures with the local and regional networks and stakeholders.