SSA reservation suggest bright summer forecast


The Steamship Authority (SSA) members met in their first monthly meeting of the new year, at Woods Hole on January 25. Agenda items included the renewal of the park and ride agreement that provides shuttle service in Tisbury and an update on efforts to modernize ticketing and summer reservation trends.

The members approved the renewal of an agreement under which the SSA reimburses the Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA) for 50 percent of the cost of operating a daily van shuttle between the Vineyard Haven terminal and the Tisbury park and ride lot off State Road, plus $200 per month to cover maintenance, insurance and other costs.

According to a management report of the Tuesday meeting, for the 12 months ended November 30, 2010, the boatline paid the VTA $66,947, to carry a total of 111,032 passengers.

A management report on early reservation activity augers well for the summer season. Wayne Lamson, SSA general manager, said that since January 18, when the boatline began processing vehicle reservations for the upcoming summer season, more than 8,000 transactions and deposits of more than $1,764,000 have been recorded, compared with a few more than 7,000 transactions last year.

Internet bookings are also up, Mr. Lamson said. Over the first six days, the SSA processed 12,000 transactions compared to 10,600 last year.

“Let’s hope that these initial positive figures for our summer vehicle reservations are an indicator of an economic rebound for the Cape and Islands this year,” Mr. Lamson said.

Mr. Lamson also reported that the redesign of the Authority’s website is to be completed by the end of April 2011. Management rejected all three proposals it received to develop a new advance reservation and point-of-sale ticketing system, because none met its requirements.

Mr. Lamson said the SSA will look at the feasibility of separately upgrading its ticketing and fare collection management in order to integrate modern technology, including the installation of readers and other devices to accept smart cards and other cards such as the MBTA Charlie card.