Time for a conversation to solve OKC's transit shortcomings

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: April 21, 2013

In 2008, an Oklahoman reporter sampled the bus system to get from the west side of Edmond to his office at Britton Road and the Broadway Extension. Starting at 8:21 a.m. he rode three buses, waited for a transfer at the downtown hub and spent two hours and 10 minutes to get to work. He did the same thing in reverse in the afternoon, leaving work at 3:40 p.m. to make his transfer schedule for the trip home.

This is life in the slow lane for Oklahoma City bus riders. It's their workaday world of waiting for buses, waiting at the hub and waiting for transfers along the way. Our reporter spent 3 hours, 55 minutes getting to and from work. That's not a good recommendation for keeping the car at home and taking the bus.

It's easy to conclude that the difficulties of taking the bus are someone else's problem. Yet we expect able-bodied people to work even if they can't drive or can't afford a car. Big league cities need public transit, but this is a proverbial chicken-or-the-egg issue: Which comes first, the demand for bus services that will help fund expansion or expanded services that will help fuel demand?

The record time for solving the Rubik's Cube is less than six seconds, but most people need minutes or hours. One way to “solve” it is to take it apart and lay out the gridiron sides in the right order.

Perhaps the time has come for Oklahoma City to take apart its transit system and put things back together in a new and innovative way. It's definitely time for riders and community leaders to have a dialogue on how to solve our transit shortcomings.

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