Oklahomans say public transportation a concern

Sunday, August 17th 2008, 7:02 pm
By: News 9

By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY - A new survey said metro citizens are not happy with the city's public transportation.

High gas prices have many Oklahomans considering alternative ways of transportation and this year, transportation is the second biggest concern behind street maintenance.

For the past few years, Oklahoma City has conducted a random survey of its citizens and never before has public transportation been such an issue.

Tammy Ivie rides the bus at least three times a month. She, like many residents, believes the metro bus system is bustling with problems.

Ivie would like to see some changes.

"That would be seat belts on the buses so we wouldn't fall forward and hurt ourselves when they stop suddenly," Ivie said.

Joslyn Pierson shares a common complaint with others riders.

"The bus system is awful. The bus system is awful," said Pierson. "The buses, the #2 bus, is never on time. I'm always late for work."

Metro Transit, the department in charge of the buses, has heard these complaints before.

"We admit we have some shortcomings," Michael Scroggins, a PIO of Metro Transit said.

Scroggins said the Feds are cutting funds for the bus system, so Metro Transit is slashing services by as much as 10 percent. These cuts are happening at a time when ridership is up seven percent.

The desire for a more reliable and expanded bus system is a growing concern city leaders are paying attention to.

"It wasn't a priority until gas got a little higher and now it's captured people's interest," Oklahoma City spokeswoman Kristy Yager said.

Before making any changes, Metro Transit is planning a workshop with city leaders and the public to come up with the best solutions to the increasing problems.

"We don't want to just put a band-aid on something and let it fester and not really solve the problem," Scroggins said.

Officials said the trolley system, the downtown Spirit Trolleys, will be included in the plans to improve the overall public transportation for Oklahoma City.

To read to city's citizen survey, visit the Citizen Survey Results Web page.