Low-cost bus rides may not be efficient

Monday, May 19th 2008, 12:21 pm
By: News 9

By Audrey Esther, news9.com INsite Team

Public transportation is a cheaper alternative to driving in Oklahoma City, but this low-cost form of transit could be less efficient. The INsite Team rode the bus from Quail Springs Mall to the NEWS 9 station at NE 73 St. and Kelley Ave. to see first-hand if the local transit system's price is worth the time. 

The bus ride cost $1.25 per person, but each route can vary in price by a few cents. Driving the nine-miles from the mall to the station usually takes about 15 minutes. The total time one-way by city bus equaled an hour and 34 minutes -- six times as long as driving a car.

Robynne Price has relied on the METRO Transit system for 10 years. She said an average bus ride takes about an hour and a half, but that length of time isn't what bothers her.

The Bus

by Justice Jones (Robynne Price)

Sometimes I get fed up.

Just tired of being tired.

Sick of riding the bumping bus-
the stinky bus-the take forever
to get anywhere bus.

I got to ride everywhere with
a bunch of strangers who have
attitudes because they don't
wanna be riding the bus either.

The hot bus-the leaky bus.

Tired of sitting or standing in
the heat or the cold waiting on the bus.

Yet I'm glad there is a bus
'cause I shol' couldn't afford
to take a cab everywhere I need to go.

Sometimes I get fed up.

"It's frustrating sitting at the bus stop in the heat. It's frustrating sitting at the bus stop in the rain; and it's just frustrating sitting at the bus stop in the nice weather watching people drive by and your sitting at the bus stop," Price said.

Price said if the bus system was more efficient, more people would probably ride the bus. But more people need to ride the bus before the bus system will improve, she said.

Latoya Richmond said she rides the bus to work every day. She said she recently got rid of her car because of the high gas prices.

"It's like riding the subway in New York. It's not a big deal," Richmond said. "I'm not too good to not spend money on gas."

Although bus systems in similar cities have experienced an increase in ridership, the same has not happened locally, METRO Transit Public Information Manager Michael Scroggins said.

According to METRO Transit, of the more than one million metro residents only about 9,000 ride the bus daily.

"Whether you go to Dallas or other cities around the nation it's very typical that they have dedicated funding; where we don't have that here," Scroggins said.

Local routes are also fairly limited Scroggins said, and primarily serve those in south OKC.