I experienced a couple of bumps when I redeemed a reservation earlier this week and am passing along what I learned in the hopes it will help readers as they navigate the new system. Getting the reservation was not a problem. I went online and everything went like clockwork. It was redeeming it that was a bit more challenging.
I sailed on the 5:10 p.m. ferry to Lopez on June 17. Had my reservation paperwork, it was scanned at the first booth and I paid for a 5-ride car/driver ticket. At the tag shack I was asked for a white or orange boarding card, which I didn’t have. The person I spoke with there said I was supposed to have a boarding card. After a little bit of back and forth, she told me I needed to go to Lane 6. Here’s where a little bit of knowledge can be dangerous. Based on years of riding the ferry, both my passenger and I interpreted what she said as meaning that I had been sent to the stand-by line. So after I parked, I walked back up to the tag shack to ask what had just happened and if I had lost my reservation in the process.
I explained I wasn’t angry, just confused about the earlier conversation. A second staff person joined the conversation. She said that I wasn’t on stand-by and that the cards are something new they are trying to help move people through the tag shack. It’s so new that passengers don’t know to ask for one and staff is sometimes forgetting to hand them out. So, first lesson: When you go through the first booth, ask for a boarding card to hand over at the tag shack. It will definitely save confusion.
The day after I sailed, I received a text saying that I was being charged a no-show fee for the previous day’s reservation (small miracle that the text got through on Lopez!). I called Customer Service. The person I spoke with was helpful, but this is when I learned how important my receipt is. In order to prove I actually had been on the boat he needed to know what time I went through the first booth, my confirmation number, the transition number for the actual ticket purchase, which credit card I used for that purchase, was it the same as the card used to make the reservation, and a bit more. Thankfully I still had the paperwork and was able to give him all the information he needed. It took less than 24 hours for the erroneous charge to go on my card and will take a week or more to get it off. Second lesson: Keep all your paperwork after you sail, just in case.
There are bugs to work out as we go through the first summer of reservations in the San Juans. Hope these tips help.