Living in Washington, DC, my Facebook feed is commonly filled up with complaints of “I HATE METRO!” whenever a train breaks down, track maintenance is being performed, A/C quits on one of the train cars, etc. But, in comparison with many cities, we’re extremely fortunate to have a clean, non-rat-infested rapid-transit system which covers nearly the entirety of the urban area of DC Metro.
So, as a counterpoint to this, I’ve compiled a list of the 10 largest cities in the USA with no Metro system of any sort – where your only option getting to work is either (a) sitting in your car in traffic, or (b) sitting in a bus that’s sitting in the same traffic as your car would be.
|City||Metro Area Population||Rail Transit||Commuter / Intercity Rail|
|Detroit, MI||5,207,434||There is a 2.9 mile people-mover loop in the downtown area, but no metro or light rail. They plan to construct a first light-rail line by 2015.||No commuter rail. Amtrak for inter-city service.|
|Orlando, FL||2.861,296||No metro or light rail.||No commuter rail. Amtrak for inter-city. There is meant to be a commuter rail line called SunRail which will open in 2014 and serve the I-4 corridor.|
|Tampa / St. Pete / Clearwater, FL||2,824,724||No metro or light rail. There’s a downtown tourist trolly in Tampa, but this is not for commuters. Plus, it’s slower than walking.||No commuter rail. Daily Amtrak service for inter-city.|
|San Antonio, TX||2,194,927||Nope, just buses.||Daily Amtrak trains (no commuter rail)|
|Cincinnati, OH||2,179,965||No light rail or metro. The city tried to construct a subway in 1927, but it was never completed – leaving a massive un-used tunnel under the city. Every plan to try to bring train service to Cinci has failed thus far. Edit: Adding link to new Cinci streetcar system which broke ground in 2012, set to open by 2015.||No commuter rail. Amtrak service for inter-city.|
|Kansas City, MO||2,122,908||No light rail or metro. Despite being the poster-child for urban sprawl (there are more freeway-miles per-capita in KC than anywhere in the USA), measures to re-construct what once was one of the finest streetcar systems in the world have repeatedly failed. Edit: Adding link to new KC streetcar which is meant to open in 2015.||No commuter rail. Amtrak service for inter-city.|
|Indianapolis, IN||2,103,574||No metro or light rail.||No commuter rail. Amtrak for inter-city.|
|Columbus, OH||2,093,185||No metro or light rail. Columbus is actually the largest city in the USA with no passenger train service of any kind whatsoever.||No passenger rail service of any sort.|
|Raleigh-Durham, NC||1,795,750||No metro or light rail.||No commuter service. Amtrak serves inter-city.|
|Milwaukee, WI||1,757,604||No metro or light rail.||No commuter rail, and governor recently snubbed inter-city rail to Madison. Only passenger rail service is 1x/daily Empire Builder and 7x/daily Hiawatha service to Chicago.|