Two Things I’ve Learned: Ask for a Boarding Card and Keep That Receipt!

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.


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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.

2 thoughts on “Two Things I’ve Learned: Ask for a Boarding Card and Keep That Receipt!

  1. Chris

    Although it’s good advice to keep your receipt, though generally I don’t, as long as you bought a five-ride ticket, all you had to do was enter the bar code number into the ticket purchase system and it would have shown the exact date and time that you went through the booth. I would hope that would satisfy WSF. (If they object that you might have been using somebody else’s ticket who traveled that day, the same issue arises with a receipt; you could have picked one out of the trash. )


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