City pages can and do work. However, you have to bear in mind its against google guidelines. So keeping that in mind it can be a risky strategy to follow especially if done on a large scale. These pages are typically called doorway pages and google do state that they will take action against sites that exploit this technique so be careful.,
The issue really is the service your offing is often quite competitive and service + city is less competitive so it is a lot easier to rank for than on a national level.
One technique I have used with success is the reviews, I tend to group them into cities which can be useful for the consumer as well as give you a boost for location searching assuming your service is location based.
One thing to avoid is just duplicating the same page and only change the city, that would very quickly be picked up. So you need to create a page which is dedicated to that city your aiming at. I understand that can be quite difficult but the rewards can be worth it.