The Steamship Authority opened Martha’s Vineyard summer 2022 ferry reservations for vehicle crossings at 5 a.m. Tuesday morning, and thousands flocked to the transit operator’s website hoping to secure a booking.
By mid-morning, the Steamship Authority had already processed more than 19,000 transactions — that’s about 3,000 more than opening day last year, and about 5,000 more than in 2019.
“Obviously we’re off to a very robust start for the summer,” said Sean Driscoll, communications director for the Steamship Authority.
The transit operator processed 19,664 transactions as of 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, representing about $4,683,024 in revenue.
“Although we’ll see more reservations yet today, I don’t expect these [numbers] to shift significantly as the morning is the busy time,” Driscoll said.
On opening day in 2021, the Steamship Authority processed 16,252 bookings, representing $3,909,427 in revenue. In 2019, it processed 14,870 transactions, representing $2,777,968. Numbers for 2020 were “not handy,” according to Driscoll. “We pulled last year and the last pre-COVID year for comparison,” he said.
The Steamship Authority defines a transaction as either a one-way or a round-trip reservation. Ferries run to and from the Vineyard from the Steamship Authority’s Woods Hole terminal in Falmouth. Crossings take about 45 minutes. The Steamship Authority lists the Vineyard’s high season between May 17 and Sept. 14, where round-trip prices for cars range from $192 and $250, depending on the size of the vehicle and the day of the week. Users also can book up to Oct. 19, when round-trip fares drop slightly.
When reservations opened on Tuesday at 5 a.m., the transit operator implemented its “virtual waiting room” strategy to manage website traffic. At its peak, there were more than 14,000 users in the queue, according to Driscoll.
As always, people hoping to secure summer travel took their qualms to Twitter. The Steamship Authority reassured users that the site was working normally, despite some reports of delays.
“The waiting room and website worked as expected and any issues that were encountered were user-specific, not site-wide,” Driscoll said.
It’s the second year the Steamship Authority has implemented the virtual waiting room strategy. “It was very successful last year, so we’re repeating it,” Driscoll told the Globe.
Summer vehicle reservations opened for Nantucket last Tuesday, where bookings also surpassed previous years by several thousand. General openings by telephone for both Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard begin on Feb. 1.
Make your summer dream vacation to Martha's Vineyard a reality! Starting at 5 a.m. tomorrow (January 25), you can book vehicle reservations for travel between May 17, 2022 - October 19, 2022 on the Martha's Vineyard route. Buy online at https://t.co/vAqSWZYomq. pic.twitter.com/qfLZKlIIps— Steamship Authority (@SteamshipMA) January 24, 2022