SSA will lose reservation office lease at airport

At the Steamship Authority (SSA) monthly board meeting held on Nantucket Tuesday, boatline members reviewed a preliminary draft of the 2012 winter and spring schedules. They also learned from the new owners of the building that houses the SSA airport reservation office that the boatline’s lease will not be extended past January 31, 2012.

The 2012 Vineyard schedules will remain mostly the same. The winter schedule starts one day later and ends three days later than in 2011. It begins on January 4 and ends on April 17. Also, the 7:30 pm departure from Martha’s Vineyard will be changed to 7:15 pm.

Island Professional Realty Trust LLC, the new owners of the SSA reservations office building at the Martha’s Vineyard Airport have other plans for the building.

“As a result, we now have to evaluate the benefits versus the costs of continuing to have a reservations office at another location on the Island, in light of fewer reservation transactions being handled in person each year,” Wayne Lamson, SSA general manager, wrote in the meeting management report.

According to the report, the reservations office handled 17,910 counter transactions in 2010 compared to 30,166 in 2006 and 47,333 in 2001.

The reservations office costs the boatline approximately $300,000 annually. That figure includes the salaries and wages of as many as six fulltime employees ($218,000) and lease payments of $23,304.

In his management report, Mr. Lamson said the SSA’s new mobile web application appears to be a big success. The SSA said an average of 5,000 people per day have been using smart phones and other mobile devices to connect, and roughly 11,000 people connected to it each day over the Memorial Day weekend.