The Steamship Authority opened online reservations for summer ferries. Then its site went down.

"You and all your summer friends are trying to do the same thing at once! Please be patient and keep trying.”

Steamship Authority ferry from Woods Hole to Marth's Vineyard.
–David L. Ryan / The Boston Globe, File

The Steamship Authority’s website promises that reserving a ferry trip from Cape Cod to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket “makes it easy,” but it was apparently anything but that when the organization opened booking for summer ferry rides Tuesday morning.

When reservations opened at 5 a.m., the ferry service’s website went down, and the flood gates opened for criticism and ridicule on the authority’s Facebook page, where officials attempted to update its frustrated clientele on what was going on.

“Please remember that it is always VERY BUSY right off the bat as we open the reservations,” the authority replied in a comment to the initial Facebook post announcing summer reservations were opening at 5 a.m. “You and all your summer friends are trying to do the same thing at once! Please be patient and keep trying.”


That comment was later edited to note that, as of 5:30 a.m., the site was “operating very slowly” and that “some people” were able to make their reservations. The authority’s “entire team” was reportedly working on the problem — the comment concluding in an apology.

About an hour later, the authority announced the site was “unavailable” and that reservations were “ON HOLD UNTIL 9 A.M.”

“So no way they will open earlier??” Facebook user Amanda Grueter asked.

“No, we will not reopen until 9 a.m. regardless,” officials behind the authority’s Facebook page replied.

But then another update followed, and reservations were again pushed back. This time, until noon.

“You could have been prepared,” part of a comment written by Facebook user Sarah Kibbe Burek said in a reply to the update. “In any other business you’d be fired by now.”

Some replied with disbelief; others told the authority it should stagger reservation openings by month.

Another update at 12:14 p.m. noted that the website was “still not functioning properly.”

An update at 12:45 p.m. said the site was working, but more slowly than normal. Customers were told to refresh the site, accompanied by another apology.

As of 3:50 p.m. Tuesday, customers were told the system should be working, and were told to use the waitlist if the time they wanted was full.


“We sincerely apologize for the difficulties experienced today and will make it our top priority to determine what happened and how we can prevent it from recurring,” the post said.


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