Summer Reservations to Martha’s Vineyard Start Strong, but Review Will Be Made of IT Systems

Posted: January 24, 2023

FALMOUTH (January 24, 2023) – The Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority opened its summer schedule on the Martha’s Vineyard route to robust online bookings on Tuesday. Despite the thousands of reservations that were successfully made, General Manager Robert B. Davis said the general opening did not meet the Authority’s high expectations for its customers. Therefore, the Authority will seek a review of its information technology systems following a high volume of complaints about the website’s performance.

The Authority Board will hold its monthly meeting on Wednesday. Davis said he will ask the Board Members at that meeting for authorization to pursue a third-party review of the Authority’s technical infrastructure and procedures.

“The bottom-line results of Tuesday’s general opening were positive, but I am not satisfied with the experience that many of our customers had during the booking process,” Davis said. “It is imperative that we immediately begin an external review of our technological backbone to ensure that this process is drastically improved.”

On Tuesday, customers reported problems with both the virtual waiting room and their ability to book reservations once on the Authority’s website. The cause of these issues is under review.

By noon, more than 20,900 transactions had been processed on the website, totaling more than $5.3 million in sales. On the comparable day in 2022, the Authority processed 24,580 transactions totaling nearly $5.8 million in sales, with 20,825 of those transactions being completed by noon. The Steamship Authority defines a transaction as either a one-way or a round-trip automobile reservation.

Prior to beginning its summer reservation period, the Authority ran two load tests on the site in November 2022 and received normal results. Network connectivity and other technical configurations were also verified prior to the summer reservation openings. The Authority performed further adjustments to the website infrastructure following the Jan. 17, 2023, opening day for summer reservations on the Nantucket route. Subsequent load tests showed the servers were able to handle more than four times the web traffic normally seen on a reservation opening day without incident.

Although many of the most in-demand summer travel weekends are at or near capacity, Davis encouraged travelers to use the Authority’s popular wait list feature if they are trying to book a currently unavailable time. Davis also reminded residents of both Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard that those customers who are in the Authority’s Preferred or Excursion programs are eligible to book spaces that are set aside each day for last-minute travel needs. More information can be found at

Customers wishing to make reservations at one of the Authority’s terminals or via the telephone may do so beginning at 7:30 a.m. on January 31, 2023, for travel to either island from May 18, 2023, through October 23, 2023. Reservations will continue to be accepted online and via U.S. Mail at that time.