I find this interesting because, I'm both a bicycle and MINI Cooper enthusiast with a high appreciation for public transit.
I found this link on the Streetsblog.net site. The Transit Pass has put together a comparison of public transportation rides verses population in major metropolitan areas across the country. Since I'm in the DFW Metroplex, I was interested in the results for Dallas.
With a population (according to Wikipedia) of 6,300,006, Dallas is 4th on the list of size, right behind NYC, Chicago and LA. However, with only 217,000 rides per day, it falls below the top 15 cities in public transportation usage. They're blaming it on the fact that Dallas was "...built around the car and without public transit in mind. " - which I can completely agree with.
We're a city that's spread thin and wide with no natural limitations on growth. We're not bordered by mountains or oceans forcing us to develop communities within limited real estate. We just go further out. Unfortunately, because of this, nothing is close. You almost need a car for work, shopping or to do anything around the Metroplex. The challenge of decent public transportation gets harder as the city grows larger.
For my commute to work, public transportation is useless. Instead of going into Dallas, my job is west of my home. Yes, there are buses that go from my neighborhood to a few blocks from my office. However, it requires at least 2-3 transfers and almost a 2 hour commute - for a 13 mile distance. Since bike commuting in the suburbs is not very common and Texas drivers aren't very accommodating, cycling isn't a safe option either.
There's nobody to blame for this. We've just become victims of our own situation. Of course this looks bad for DFW who, along with Houston, "represent the worst of car culture in America."
Personally, I would love for the DART and public transit to thrive in my city. I'd even take it more often if somebody could come up with a better solution for me. Until then, I'll be enjoying my fun, little, fuel efficient MINI Cooper.