As part of my job as a bus driver, I often watch passengers work feverishly to unjam my fare box after they have attempted to stuff a month’s worth of pennies into it. Since I tend to choose busy routes, there is inevitably a long line of impatient passengers behind them watching too. Anybody who pays attention to my Twitter feed knows I prefer passengers use an ORCA card and that I can get kind of snarky about it. While not perfect, paying with an ORCA card is much faster and gives the user a 2 hour transfer on service provided Sound Transit, Metro, Pierce Transit, and Community Transit. ORCA really is the way to pay for public transportation in the greater Seattle area.
But what about all those pennies, nickels, and dimes you have kicking around? You may already know about Coinstar machines, located at many local grocery stores, that can automatically count all of your change, for a 9.8% fee. But you may not know that Coinstar allows you to convert those same coins into eCertificates and gift cards for Amazon.com, Apple’s iTunes, Starbucks Coffee, Albertson’s, and many other retailers without a counting fee. That’s right, at a Coinstar machine you can convert the mountain of coins that you’ve been holding onto for years into music, books, groceries, or jet fuel (aka Coffee). Just take at least $5 in coins to any Coinstar machine and follow the instructions to get an eCertificate or gift card that can be redeemed at your favorite retailer or web site.
So how about it? Why not give Coinstar a try?
Now, if we could just get the good people at orcacard.com to accept eCertificates, then you could convert ALL of your change into bus fare without jamming my fare box and with the added advantages that ORCA brings… Think of all the road calls to repair broken fare boxes Metro could save …