The Steamship Authority (SSA) is making preparations to launch its new website in either December or February.
Work is still underway to launch the site and accompanying app, the latter of which is delayed by a longer approval process than what Stellar Elements, the firm handling the redesign, estimated.
“We were informed by Stellar Elements that it would be one to two weeks,” SSA general manager Robert Davis told the Steamship Authority board during a meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 28. “It’s been over a month now.”
In the meantime, tests are continuing, bugs are being fixed, and staff is being trained. Davis said some issues being worked on that could be “showstoppers” if not resolved included the ability to change vehicles on reservations, high-speed guest reservations, the ability to pay a balance due, and the ability to cancel an excursion reservation.
“We anticipate, if we get over these last couple of hurdles, that we’d be looking at the middle or early half of December to be able to go live,” Davis said.
If the December launch cannot be met, Davis said it would be better to delay the launch until February, considering the holiday travels and the Headstart summer reservations starting so soon. The SSA will retain iMarc, the current website vendor, through March as a backup.
When SSA Martha’s Vineyard representative Jim Malkin said this was the first he’d heard of the February date, Davis said it would be a “disservice” to customers right before the Headstart and the general summer reservations start.
The SSA experienced major web issues last January when summer reservations kicked off.
A slide on the presentation showed that $2.75 million had been spent so far on the redesign, although consulting costs bring that up to $2.9 million for the project. In total, the website project is estimated to cost $3.02 million.