ferry frustrations – part deux

And then they surprise you…

Not 15 minutes after I submitted my letter online, I got a call from Ferries. The woman I talked to has given me her direct line, and when we return from our trip she will refund whatever reservation we didn’t use.

She’s also going to look into the policy because she things it’s a bit strange. She mentioned the rule of not honouring the reservation is mostly there for commercial vehicles.

We still have the problem of what to do in the future as there is no guarantee the height will be exactly the same each trip, but she said she’d chat with me about that when I phone her back.

I must say I’m impressed with how quickly they responded, and with how apologetic she was.

ferry frustrations

First, let me say that I know I chose to live on this island, and by making that choice I am accepting the fact that to travel to the mainland, I have to deal with a ferry system. For the most part, I keep my mouth shut when it comes to said ferry system, but this time I can’t. It just makes no sense. This excerpt of my letter of complaint should explain the situation.

To make sure we make our flight, we want to make a reservation. We are traveling with two other adults and a child. We drive a Honda CRV, and to fit all of our luggage, we will have a Yakima luggage pod on top of the car.

Using a measuring tape, we have measured the car with the pod on top, and when empty, it measures approximately 7 feet, 2 inches. This is obviously not a 100% accurate measurement – both because measuring with a tape is prone to a bit of error and because our luggage and passengers may affect the height – so I wasn’t sure whether to make an overheight reservation or not. I called customer service, and was told that if I make an overheight reservation and our car is actually underheight, the reservation will not be honoured. Similarly, if I make an underheight reservation and the car is overheight, it will also not be honoured.

This is absolutely ridiculous. I, like most ferry travelers, do not have an accurate method of measuring the height of the vehicle, which means I cannot make a reservation that I can be sure is honoured.

When I phoned back customer service to see if there was anything I could do, I was told that it is also up to the ticket agent’s discretion whether to honour the reservation or not, if it is incorrect. So one ticket agent may honour an overheight reservation if we are at actually underheight, another may not. This makes it impossible for us to EVER make an accurate reservation when we are traveling with the luggage pod, since we are so close to the cut-off.

To ensure we make our flight, we have been forced to make two reservations for one vehicle – one for overheight and one for underheight. This adds an unnecessary $17.50 to our ferry costs. Why would you not just accept an overheight reservation? We are so close to 7 feet, we will likely be put in the lower car deck anyway.