With the rapid development of public-private-partnership (PPP) urban rail transit (URT) projects in China, their social responsibility (SR) is considered to provide a useful way of guaranteeing passengers’ rights and to help urban sustainable development. However, what remains largely unknown is how passengers’ perceptions of the SR effort of such projects’ influences their satisfaction. To bridge this knowledge gap, the current study first proposes a conceptual model based on social responsibility and satisfaction theories. Hypotheses are then tested through bootstrapping analysis based on data drawn from a questionnaire survey of 436 residents from three typical PPP URT projects. The results show that the relationship between the passengers’ perceived SR effort and their satisfaction with PPP URT projects is sequentially and doubly mediated by perceived quality and perceived value. The findings contribute to the current body of knowledge in social responsibility and user satisfaction by introducing passenger-perceived SR effort as an antecedent factor, and offer valuable practical and managerial implications for the projects’ operation management to help promote urban sustainability.