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Tricks and tactics used against troublesome travelers: Frontline staff’s experiences from Swedish buses and trains
University of Borås, School of Business and IT.
2014 (English)In: Research in Transportation Business and Management (RTBM), ISSN 2210-5395, E-ISSN 2210-5409, Vol. 10, p. 53-59Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Public transport is facing escalating problems with passengers who behave badly by threatening and assaulting both staff and other passengers. Troublesome customers are known to affect employees’ health and work motivation adversely. However, employees also form strategies for handling the incidents that arise. Developing successful ways of dealing with customer misbehavior, on both an operational and a strategic level, represents a key challenge facing the public transport sector. The aim of this article is to investigate the nature of such negative situations in public transport; in particular, highlighting the practical strategies that are used by public transport staff to handle these kinds of incidents. An interview study consisting of 23 in-depth interviews was conducted both with conductors on regional trains and bus drivers on local buses in Sweden. Several instances of customer misbehavior were described by the respondents, e.g. verbal abuse, threats, and even physical violence. These alarming incidents were dealt with by staff using a range of individual strategies aimed at averting or controlling misbehaving customers. Our study clearly demonstrates the importance of the employees’ appearance and their interactional abilities, in addition to their use of the physical environment, when handling incidents that included misbehavior.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier , 2014. Vol. 10, p. 53-59
Keywords [en]
Public transport, Customer misbehavior, Employee strategies, Service management
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business and IT
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-1859DOI: 10.1016/j.rtbm.2014.04.002Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84903699864Local ID: 2320/13698OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-1859DiVA, id: diva2:869937
Available from: 2015-11-13 Created: 2015-11-13 Last updated: 2019-01-03Bibliographically approved

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