The writers of the Feb. 14 editorial “A digital disconnect” got it half-right. Agreed that there is indeed a disconnect, but rather than being digital, it is the opinion of someone who has never visited the Southtowns Auto Bureau, a postage stamp-sized room on the Erie Community College South Campus. There, auto bureau visitors vie with students to find a parking space that isn’t located in the “back 40” of the sprawling campus.
Kudos to Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns for seeking ways to make the public’s transactions with the auto bureau more convenient. It is also agreed that in some cases an expanded brick and mortar presence is due to the state’s archaic system of unequal reimbursement for online versus on-site transactions.
But, it should also be noted that there are people who prefer to visit an establishment to speak with a live human being, face to face. Therein lies the real disconnect in this increasingly wired, online age. There is a special rung of Dante’s Inferno dedicated to spiraling those who attempt phone transactions down the virtual rabbit hole in a frustrating assault by an army of incompetent virtual “assistants.”
One proposal that should be given serious consideration is the relocation of the tiny Southtowns Auto Bureau from said campus to the nearby McKinley Mall, where plenty of free parking abounds. This move would not only allow the auto bureau to handle its expanding duties such as Real ID requirements, but also its foot traffic could breathe more life into a Hamburg facility in urgent need of a boost.