Peter Bohr of Orcas Island has reported that trips are being stolen from multi-ride Wave2Go tickets. Mr. Bohr reported the theft to WSF but was denied a refund because there is no way to verify that his ticket numbers were stolen.
Although WSF is aware of the situation and the San Juan County Sheriff is investigating, so far there has been no public announcement from WSF regarding the potential security breach of its ticketing system. The problem seems to be limited to multi-ride tickets from Anacortes to Orcas, but all WSF customers are advised to keep Wave2Go tickets under their control at all times. WSF allows people to merely present the numbers from a Wave2Go ticket, without having the actual ticket or a photocopy in hand.
County Sheriff Rob Nou confirmed that there is an active investigation underway regarding reports of fraudulent use of “commuter” ferry ticket numbers at the Washington State Ferries (WSF) toll booth in Anacortes.
There has been no response, other than acknowledgment of an active investigation regarding this matter, to requests to Washington State Ferries’ communications and administration staff Susan Harris, Marta Coursey and George Capacci regarding a breach of WSF’s computer ticket system. The breach enables thieves to steal unused rides on 5-passage commuter tickets by simply reporting the numbers on the bar code of the Wave2Go tickets, without presenting the ticket or a photocopy of the ticket itself.
Read more about here from the Islands’ Sounder:
An article in the Islands’ Sounder provides updates on the state of the ferry reservation system and options for new ways to pay fares. In the article, the vehicle reservation system is being touted as a way to manage demand and avoid building new terminals:
“The vehicle-reservation system manages demand cheaply and saves the state a projected $280 million, WSF officials reveal. WSF officials had previously thought it would need hefty funding to expand terminals and build new holding areas to meet future demand. Instead, they have turned to a demand-management model intended to streamline the ferry-riding process.”
However, ferry officials have not yet revealed how the reservation system will work at terminals that cannot be expanded to meet the requirements of additional holding lanes, such as at the Lopez Island landing.
The article continues, discussing the presentation to the Joint Transportation Committee on the Fare Media Study at the JTC’s January 4th meeting:
“The study recommends that the ferry system replace its current prepaid Wave2Go payment option with an account-based system where patrons would be able to use different payment options through Good To Go! and One Regional Card for All (ORCA) cards….
“Before the account-based system is implemented, the study recommends that the ferry system create an interface that allows the ORCA and the Wave2Go systems to work integrate. The study recommends that Washington State Ferries allow passengers to purchase and load their multi-ride cards, which they can purchase through Wave2Go, on their ORCA cards.”
The final Fare Media Study report is due out next week. We will have the study available on this website page as soon as it is available. Previous documents are available on our Documents page under the WSF Fare Media Study heading.
A fare study commissioned by the Washington State Transportation Commission shows that, while the numbers of “unique” riders has increased, the number of riders using frequent trip discounts has decreased. There are several factors that could be causing the decrease in use of frequent-rider tickets, including increased cost, lack of refunds for unused tickets, and the change from paper ticket books to non-sharable Wave2Go electronic tickets.
This article in the Kitsap Sun has more details. The full report can be downloaded here: WSF Fare Media Study: Draft Situation Assessment
If you are taking fewer trips, not using the Wave2Go frequent-rider tickets, or not buying frequent-trip tickets as often, we’d like to hear your reasons. You can leave a comment below.