‘Wave’ bye-bye to ticket books

If you really love those paper Washington State Ferries ticket books, be sure and buy some Tuesday because that will be the last day the agency will sell them for the Triangle route of Southworth-Vashon-Fauntleroy.

On May 9, WSF will introduce its “Wave2Go” electronic ticketing system to the South Sound, then the Point Defiance-Tahlequah run the next day.

This week, WSF spokeswoman Susan Harris-Huether admitted that there still are some “glitches” occurring with the new system, now in use for close to two months on the Seattle runs to Bremerton and Bainbridge Island.

“The most important thing I can say to customers is to be patient,” Harris-Huether said Monday, a day the agency was experiencing problems with its online ticket sales, which comprise a major component of the new system. “We are doing the best we can, and overall the system is working OK.”

For the Triangle route, that system will mean the ticket books will be replaced by “multi-ride cards” that offer a car and driver the same 20 trips as the old “frequent-user books” and have the same 90-day use period. Any paper tickets still in circulation will be accepted until they expire.

To purchase the new commuter cards, Harris-Huether said customers have several options. They can buy a “disposable” card at a tollbooth from a ferry worker or use one of the self-serve kiosks at any terminal. At home, they can purchase a card online and print it out themselves.

Finally, as a fourth option also online, she said commuters can buy a multi-use card and not print out a paper card at home, but have a thick, credit-card like “ReValue” card mailed to them.

“That way, you can manage your account online,” Harris-Huether said, explaining that since the card is connected to your credit card or bank account, it will automatically replenish with 20 rides by charging your account “every time you run out of tickets.”

Another advantage to the ReValue card, she said, is if it is lost, WSF can put a block on the remaining rides and issue a new card to the user.

The reusable cards cannot be purchased at a tollbooth or kiosk, however, and must be purchased and enacted online.

Harris-Huether said this is because printers capable of producing the cards cannot be provided to each tollbooth.

For now, purchasing the disposable multi-use cards at a tollbooth will not be any more expensive than buying them self-serve at a kiosk or online, but eventually a $2.50 fee will be added to the cost if purchased at a tollbooth.

According to the WSF, that charge will be imposed “no sooner than six months after the implementation of (Wave2Go) systemwide.”

For more casual users, one-time ride tickets can be purchased at the tollbooths, or printed in advance at a kiosk or at home.

For more information, visit, or talk to WSF personnel that will be stationed at the Southworth and Fauntleroy terminals to answer questions this week.

“On May 8, I will have (staff) riding to the boats to provide information,” Harris-Huether said.

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