Ethnography of urban public transport: A tale of two cities in Croatia

  • Vicko Tomić University of Zadar
  • Renata Relja University of Split
  • Toni Popović University of Split
Keywords: ethnography, urban public transport, passengers, Croatia


The subject of this ethnographic study is the daily life in the context of urban public transport in two cities in Croatia: Zagreb and Split. The qualitative method of participant observation was used to identify and understand the aspects of the behaviour of passengers, drivers and ticket controllers and, more generally, daily life in urban public transport. The quantitative methods of structured observation and content analysis were used to analyse the frequency of passengers’ various behaviours and the infrastructure of urban public transport in both cities. Different types of passengers were identified: passenger-loner, passenger-talker, deviant passenger, passenger-altruist and passenger-romantic. The results showed differences in behaviour depending on the demographic characteristics of passengers as well as differences in passenger behaviour with respect to the city. The analysis of infrastructure showed that Zagreb has better urban public transport than Split, but also that urban public transport systems needed to be upgraded in both cities.