Conventional wisdom in public transport planning suggests that transfers should be minimized because of the negative perceptions associated with them. However, little is known about how transferring affects overall satisfaction levels. This study aims to answer the following three research questions: (1) Are people that require transfers on their daily commute less satisfied with their trips compared with their non-transferring counterparts? (2) How many transfers appear to be too many transfers to remain satisfied with a trip? (3) Do mode-specific transfers have different impacts on overall satisfaction levels?
Using data from a 2017/18 commuting survey of students, faculty, and staff at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, this study tries to answer the above questions through two statistical models, general and mode-specific. The general model showed that compared with trips involving zero transfers, no statistical difference in trip satisfaction was observed for one-transfer trips, whereas trip satisfaction declines by 32% when a rider must transfer at least two times. The mode-specific transfers showed that transferring between bus routes, and between a bus and subway, negatively affects trip satisfaction. However, transferring between subway lines did not show an impact in the models. These results show that transferring between highfrequency routes does not affect total trip satisfaction levels in the same way as transfers involving low-frequency services. Findings from this study are expected to contribute to both scholarly and practical discussions of the relationship between transferring and customer satisfaction.