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'Wave2Go' briefly crashes online sales

Last week’s introduction of the Washington State Ferries’ electronic-ticketing system to the southern-most routes wasn’t a seamless transition, but the last change may have been the easiest, said spokeswoman Susan Harris-Huether.

“Things are going well — people have adapted,” Harris-Huether said, explaining that the success could be attributed to how much advance information the route users received. “(My employees and I) walked the line for seven days straight, talking to people.”

Of course, few things are perfect, and the Triangle route’s move to the “Wave2Go” system wasn’t an exception to that rule. On May 9, the first day the route went electronic, the WSF’s Web store, where riders can purchase advance tickets for single or multiple trips, was inoperable for a least a couple of hours. The online portal had also been down the week before on April 30.

“It’s pretty solid right now,” Harris-Huether said, explaining that both a “technical glitch” and an “e-mail glitch” have been solved.

However, she said that users of her agency’s Web store should be aware that some computer’s Spam blockers can mislabel emails from WSF as junk mail and block it, so that also can be a reason why some transactions haven’t been successful.

Another transaction that will no longer be successful soon is the use of expired frequent-user coupons, she said.

“I learned that it was quite an art form,” Harris-Huether said, explaining that some riders bragged about their ability to pass expired coupons to workers at the Fauntleroy terminal, especially during the hectic, afternoon commute times when hundreds of cars line-up well past the dock and up Fauntleroy Drive.

Now riders will have to trick a scanner, she said, since each ticket is no longer read by human, but electronic, eyes.

“The new system requires that every fare collection is redeemed,” she said, explaining that not only does the electronic-fare-system(EFS) record every sale or transaction, cameras have been installed at the toll booths to record them as well. “Every fare is counted.”

Harris-Huether said that is why riders who still have unexpired coupons are being given paper receipts and asked to wait until they print up. That is because each fare is being recorded, which she said is the primary reason for implementing the new system.

In other WSF news:

Newly passed legislation in Olympia makes it illegal to “cut in line” at WSF terminals, so the agency has modified its Motorcycle Loading Procedures. Instead of being able to bypass the Fauntleroy toll booths, motorcycles must stop there. However, once they are processed, they will be given they same advance-loading privileges they had in the past.

Harris-Huether said cars cutting in line is a particular problem at the Mukilteo terminal — which was the location featured in an ABC television news report that aired Friday — since there are numerous streets leading into the toll booths.

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