The latest sign of the apocalypse is not the plunging stock market. It’s Centro’s new website. Yes, they’ve got that attractive new look that says “It took several different executives six years to decide a new website was worth paying for and then to have endless meetings with each other about what it should look like.” (Alas, I’m quite familiar with this process myself.) This is the best way to avoid having any helpful features that other public transit companies use on their websites — such as Google maps, live locators for buses, and the ability to search a database for routes and times. But, they’ve got a website that now matches the very best standards of
2001 1999, and that’s no small improvement.
In a way this is Syracuse (and New York’s?) problem in a nutshell. We know what our problems are, we know how other communities like ours are solving their problems, but there are just so many damn levels of brass to go through, especially brass who are not comfortable with innovation and turn a laudable tendency to caution into a liability. In the end, the new solutions launched look pretty much a lot like the old ones, with maybe some added window dressing. Proposed solutions to problems are either grandiose, or too-little-too-late. You’d think a bus company would understand that timing is everything.
I went to Centro’s site because, now that inflation is really poised to ramp up, I’d better start using some of my vast amounts of accumulated change and take the bus more often before the fares start climbing. I don’t think I could hack taking the bus every day like I used to — it’s an exhaustingly long ride — but it’s a good way to save on both gas and car maintenance.
On this blog and elsewhere we have been discussing practical things our parents and grandparents used to do. Your parents or grandparents probably had the ubiquitous coffee can full of pennies. I’ll give you a new tip: if you’re going to have a coffee can full of coins, forget the pennies, and concentrate on nickels instead. Why? Because it turns out that, while nickels can’t buy anything much more than pennies can these days, nickels are the most valuable coin in your wallet when it comes to the actual value of the metal therein. It has the highest copper content of any U.S. coin, and with the falling value of the dollar, this means a nickel is currently worth about 7 cents melted down – a better value than the penny. Keeping in mind that melting down nickels is now illegal for this very reason, you still might be better off to put nickels in your Victory Pig. (You do have a Victory Pig, right?) The powers that be would like you to not think about inflation. Do think about it.