Steamship Authority launches eFerry contactless ticketing

Posted: December 11, 2019

Steamship Authority launches eFerry contactless ticketing

Ticketing enhancement puts SSA at forefront of mobile ticketing

FALMOUTH (December 11, 2019) – The Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority is launching its eFerry tickets, a contactless ticketing solution for passengers that will offer a quick and easy way for travelers to board their ferry.

Although electronic and mobile ticketing has become more popular worldwide, the Steamship Authority is the first domestic ferry operator to use near-field communication technology, commonly called NFC, instead of asking passengers to scan a barcode displayed on a smartphone. The use of NFC will allow for easier, faster and safer boarding while providing a more seamless experience for passengers.

“Our eFerry tickets represent a huge step forward for the Steamship Authority,” said General Manager Robert B. Davis. “We have long heard from our passengers that they desire a mobile-based system for purchasing tickets and boarding our ferries. By taking the bold step of utilizing NFC technology with Apple Wallet and Google Pay, the Steamship Authority has become a transit leader in mobile ticketing technology.”

The eFerry tickets launched as a live test last week on the Authority’s high-speed route between Hyannis and Nantucket, where passengers already have the ability to purchase high-speed ferry tickets via their mobile phone. Passengers on that route are now additionally able to redeem their tickets by loading them to their Apple Wallet or Google Pay prior to arriving at the terminal and holding their iPhone, Apple Watch or Android device near a ticket scanner to board the ferry.

Following the conclusion of the high-speed ferry season and a review of lessons learned from the live test, the eFerry tickets will be made available for traditional ferries on both the Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard routes in the first quarter of 2020. The eFerry ticket system also will include the ability to load the five-ride Lifeline Card, the 10-ride Ferry Pass and the 46-ride commuter books to a customer’s Apple Wallet or Google Pay.

The Steamship Authority has been working with representatives from Apple, Google, Pronto CX and SKIDATA to ensure the eFerry tickets work seamlessly on the most popular smartphones and associated smart devices offered today. The ticket was designed by Pronto CX, a mobile-first smart event and customer engagement platform specializing in tap-and-go Apple Wallet and Google Pay based experiences including ticketed travel, event tickets, contactless payments, and loyalty/membership program enablement. Pronto CX will continue to work with the Authority to manage the digital ticket’s behavior, such as content updates, in real time.

“‘Tap and go’ via Apple Wallet or Google Pay is simply the easiest, fastest, and most secure way to convey tickets,” said Pronto CX Head of Product Conrad Caplin. “Customers are going to love it because it will save them loads of time. Plus the pass is dynamic, meaning it can be updated in real time to display relevant travel information and provide access to additional resources.”

The Authority is using the current equipment at the terminals for its eFerry program; the ticket readers are designed by SKIDATA, an international leader in the field of access solutions and their management and a longtime partner of the SSA.

“We are excited to support the Steamship Authority in its innovative move to NFC ticketing, as this will benefit not only the SSA with faster, smoother implementation of ticketing but also their customers, who will have enhanced customer experiences in ticketing and access control,” said Florian Schneeberger, vice president, business line management and innovation at SKIDATA.

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Since 1960, the Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority has served as the transportation lifeline to the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard year round. The Steamship Authority is the largest ferry service to the islands and offers the most frequent daily departures for passengers, automobiles, groups and trucks. In 2018, over 3 million passengers and over 670,000 vehicles were transported to and from the islands. Our U.S. Coast Guard-certified crews are committed to the highest level of safety at sea while our vessels offer comfort and convenience with spacious seating, snack bars, free Wi-Fi and TV on board.