Ferry system tries to avoid another online reservation failure

A state ferry is seen arriving at Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. (Image: Courtesy of San Juan Islands)

SEATTLE (AP) - The Washington State Ferries' online vehicle reservation system crashed last week because it couldn't handle the large volume of customers hoping to make summer reservations.

To avoid a repeat of that system failure, officials will release summer reservations to and from the San Juan Islands in smaller segments. They hope this will help shorten the wait times online and on the phone.

Officials estimate that tens of thousands of customers tried to access the site on April 14. The system only confirmed 4,441 reservations before shutting down.

Officials say the new program will allow them to provide better customer service.

Summer reservations for the Anacortes/Sidney B.C. and Port Townsend/Coupeville routes will be available starting Wednesday.

The Anacortes/San Juan Islands summer schedule runs from June 14 to Sept. 19. The first third of space on all sailings will be released in six increments. Those release dates start on April 28.