Port aux Basques -
The commercial wait list is up and running at Marine Atlantic's terminals in North Sydney and Port aux Basques.
Don Barnes, vice-president of customer experience for the Crown corporation, said in a prepared statement the list will provide additional opportunities for smaller and independent operators who are less able to predict exactly when they will need a booking or who otherwise find the reservations system challenging.
"The smaller carriers have been asking for the ability to get on the dock and wait for space to become available, similar to the first-come, first-served system," said Barnes. "We are meeting that need and providing them with the flexibility they need, without forcing those companies that move 80 per cent of the goods on and off the island to go back to a more chaotic, inefficient system."
There are 10 spaces on each list, which are administered at the terminals themselves. When the two-hour cut-off time for tractor trailers has been reached, commercial units on the waitlist will be moved to the sailing, as space and time permits. Once the vessel has departed, other units can be added to bring the waitlist back up to 10 units.
The list is limited to commercial units with drivers and is not available to drop trailers, units carrying dangerous goods or livestock, or oversized units.
Commercial units with confirmed reservations will not be placed on the wait list.
"The wait list is the latest of a number of changes implemented under commercial reservations to address industry concerns with the system," said Barnes. "We committed to work with our commercial customers on the introduction of commercial reservations and we will continue to do so. To date, we are receiving positive feedback on the changes that have been made."
Other changes to commercial reservations in recent weeks include online bookings, later check-in times, and a 24-hour cancellation rule. Since the changes, cancellation rates have considerably improved, from a high of 10 per cent for the first three weeks of June, down to 6 per cent in the days following the requirement to cancel more than 24 hours before scheduled departure.
The effectiveness of the waitlist will be monitored throughout the summer season to determine whether changes are required.