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SSA upgrades check-in system
By this spring, Steamship Authority (SSA) travelers who make advance vehicle reservations will no longer be mailed boarding passes. The change is expected to save on postage and office expenses and make better use of modern information technology.
Photo by Susan Safford
The SSA plans to start slowly to institute the new process, Mr. Lamson said. The members endorsed the proposal as a sign of continuing changes designed to make the boatline more efficient and customer friendly.
Vineyard SSA member Marc Hanover said the move to a paper-less system is an example of improved service. He said the airlines have been using similar systems for years.
Nantucket SSA member Flint Ranney told The Times it is a step forward and an example of management's efforts to streamline procedures. "I think all of our customers will appreciate being able to go on line, make a reservation, and print out their ticket at home," he said. "This will eliminate a lot of the aggravation in waiting on hold, waiting for the ticket to arrive in the mail, or standing in line at the ticket counter to pick up your ticket."
In keeping with the holiday season's sentiments, the members approved several customer-friendly changes intended to eliminate restrictions and additional charges. For example, a customer who changes a reservation to another trip on the same day, changes license plates or adds or subtracts passengers would no longer have to pay the difference between the price at the time the reservation was made and any increased fare.
In the past a ticket expired at the end of the calendar year in which it was purchased. Tickets will now be valid for one year from the date of purchase.
The lengthiest discussion of the meeting concerned the renewal of a license agreement for the Hy-Line, which provides fast-ferry and conventional service between Hyannis and Nantucket and Hyannis and Oak Bluffs.
Among the requested changes to the two-year agreement, was the elimination of winter fast-ferry service between Hyannis and Oak Bluffs and the addition of a sixth round-trip on the Nantucket route.
Mr. Hanover said he was reluctant to cede any more business to Hy-Line but found little support among the members for any changes to the license.
With only slight modifications, the board approved the new licensing agreement, which includes a hike in licensing fees tied to the number of passengers carried.
In other business, the board received updates on the Island Home, which is expected to begin sea trials the week of Dec. 18; approved a capital budget of $14,138,000; and thanked the captains and crews for keeping SSA vessels operating in difficult weather conditions over Nantucket's Christmas Stroll weekend.
In his last meeting as chairman, SSA Falmouth member Robert Marshall thanked the board and management for a very good year. He said his only disappointment was the failure to conclude a labor contract with MEBA, the union that represents the engineers on SSA vessels.
Mr. Hanover, echoing the views of his colleagues on the board, thanked Mr. Marshall and said it had been a pleasure serving with him and praised his professional business manner.
The chairmanship now passes to David Oliveira of New Bedford under the enabling act.