Ferry ticketing goes high tech

The same technology that reads tickets at Disneyland is now also a ticket option for the Port Townsend Ferry.

The next phase of Washington State Ferries’ new ticketing system, called Wave2Go, was introduced last week at both the Port Townsend and Keystone Terminals as the state ferry system moves toward an electronic ticketing system.

New ticket kiosks have been placed in both terminals, giving customers new options to buy tickets.

Washington State Ferries is working with Avanade, a Seattle firm started by Microsoft and Accenture, and Gateway Ticketing and Systems. Gateway has installed systems everywhere from Disneyland to other ferry systems elsewhere in the country.

The ticketing system premieres at the Port Townsend/Keystone and will then be installed and implemented on other terminals across Washington as well.

“It is the first terminal as we are rolling this out slowly so there will be few glitches,” said Susan Harris-Huether, spokeswoman for the ferry system.

“The primary glitch was handheld scanners which were reprogrammed and are doing great now,” she said.

In case the electronic kiosks have a glitch due to increased traffic over the holiday weekend, customers can also buy tickets the old-fashioned way. The terminals are prepared, Harris-Huether said.

“The old fashioned way is fine. We just provide both ways now,” she said.

Switching to the new system has its price. The project cost a fixed price of $12.6 million, including the Port Townsend/Keystone terminals.

The new kiosks let customers purchase all available tickets for this route, as well as their monthly ferry pass with either a credit card or a debit card with a credit card logo.

Customers can also purchase single tickets seven days in advance of use as well as round-trip tickets.

The new system is designed to avoid long waits and make things easier.

“Purchasing tickets for this route just got more convenient,” said Traci Brewer-Rogstad, director of operations.

“Prior to last week, customers could only buy WSF-only passenger passes via a retail outlet or online. Now they can purchase their passes from the kiosk at the terminal adding convenience since generally, they are commuting through the terminal,” she said.

The new system also provides a safe alternative for walk-on passengers and both Port Townsend and Keystone.

Foot passengers could only purchase their tickets at the tollbooth, crossing traffic lanes to get there.

Now, passengers can purchase their tickets from kiosk in the terminal, bypassing the vehicle tollbooth.

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