Public transit nationwide, says the Brookings Institution, is by and large a “missed opportunity,” and few metropolitan areas miss it by as much as Oklahoma City, which they rank 84th among 100 major metros. Coverage is below average — only 42 percent of working adults live near a transit stop — and waiting time is about double the study average.
“When you have to wait an hour for the bus, and you have a car option, you are going to choose the car,” Cain said. “The problem our board faces is do you try to cover a large area and not do it very well, or do you cover a small area and do it very well? That decision was made a long time ago and now it is very difficult to change.”
One problem that exists in most metros, not just here, is adherence to the old hub-and-spoke model:
Most transit systems still have a design that brings suburban workers into downtowns for higher-skill jobs in industries such as finance and health care, but fails to connect them to growing suburban employment centers.
For myself, I’m probably in the 90th percentile locally in terms of Low Walking Distance to Transit: I’d have to walk at most three blocks a day. But I live on one spoke and work on another, meaning I’d have to travel to the hub and make connections every time. This is a tedious process, and if I can drive the whole route, out and back, in 35 minutes for $4 worth of gas, the bus doesn’t look all that welcoming. (There are, of course, other costs involved with driving, but that’s the most visible at the moment, inasmuch as the car is paid for and the insurance bill is still a couple weeks away.)
Note: Despite the title, this is not the Rebecca Black update. This is.