Update on summer reservations

The following information was sent out today by WSF at 5 p.m.

WSF improves technology to handle summer ferry reservations

San Juan Island reservations will be made available starting April 28

SEATTLE – A team of information technology specialists determined the Washington State Ferries’ online vehicle reservations system stopped working last Tuesday, April 14, because it was unable handle the large volume of customers that attempted to make summer reservations.

To avoid large surges of reservations being made at once, WSF will release summer reservations to and from the San Juan Islands in smaller segments to help shorten wait times online and over the phone. IT specialists also are performing continuous testing and system upgrades that should significantly increase the ability to handle hundreds of vehicle reservation requests simultaneously.

Even though improvements are being made, it is possible customers may experience longer than usual wait times online as well as on our phone system.

Also to reduce online and phone wait times, summer reservations for the Anacortes/Sidney B.C. and Port Townsend/Coupeville routes will be available starting Wednesday, April 22.

For the Anacortes/San Juan Islands summer schedule, which runs from June 14 to September 19, the first third of space on all sailings will be released in six increments according to the following schedule:

Release dates Available reservation dates
Tuesday, April 28 June 14-30
Thursday, April 30 July 1-15
Tuesday, May 5 July 16-29
Tuesday, May 12 July 30-August 12
Thursday, May 14 August 13-26
Tuesday, May 19 August 27- September 19

Releasing summer ferry reservations in smaller increments avoids overburdening the software to the point where it breaks down. Last Tuesday, April 14, tens of thousands of customers attempted to access Washington State Ferries’ online reservations site. The system was able to confirm 4,441 reservations throughout the day before the reservations system was shut down due to technical difficulties.

“This is a new program and it’s clear that we need to make changes that will allow us to provide timely customer service,” said Assistant Secretary for the Washington State Ferries Division Lynne Griffith. “We have learned from this experience and will be adjusting the reservations system so it meets our goal of providing customers the ability to plan ahead and avoid long waits.”

Moving forward, additional summer season reservations will be released two weeks and two days before each sailing date.

Reservations for the spring 2015 schedule, which runs through June 13, remain available. To create, change or cancel a spring reservation customers may go online or call WSF Customer Service at 1-888-808-7977.

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About sjbrooksyoung

Susan Brooks-Young has been involved in the field of instructional technology since 1979. She was one of the original technology users in the district where she taught and has continued to explore ways in which technology can be used to facilitate student learning. She has worked as computer mentor, technology trainer, and technology curriculum specialist. Prior to establishing her own consulting firm, Susan was a teacher, site administrator, and technology specialist in a county office of education in a career that spanned more than 23 years. Since 1986, she has published articles and software reviews in a variety of education journals. She is also author of a number of books which focus on how school leaders can implement the NETS*A Standards. Susan works with educators internationally, focusing on practical technology-based strategies for personal productivity and effective technology implementation in schools. Susan and her husband live on Lopez Island, WA.

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