Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced the creation of a digital platform that will allow users of the ferries traveling between Vieques, Culebra and Ceiba to purchase tickets online, access route maps and find answers to frequently asked questions.
Through www.porferry.com users will have access to a detailed itinerary of routes with boarding and departure times, estimated times of arrival, in addition to real-time schedule changes, he said.
“The use of technology is vital to improve maritime transport service to the residents of Vieques and Culebra, as well as for Puerto Ricans or visitors who travel to Ceiba and the island municipalities,” said Rosselló.
The online service will add a $3 fee on the cost of each ticket for users who are not residents of the island municipalities; however, they must present identification when boarding the ferry to validate their residence.
During the first phase of the launch, a limited number of tickets, exclusively for Fast Ferries vessels, will be available. For the second phase, which should begin in May, a system will be integrated to maximize seat inventory available online, the governor said.
The third and final phase of the platform will begin in the summer with a registration of island municipalities residents in the www.porferry.com system.
Porferry.com is a collaboration between the Maritime Transportation Authority and TiX.By LLC, the company that developed and operates the Ticketera ticketing service in Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland.
TiX.By is a Puerto Rican company founded in October 2015. Its creators are participants of the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company innovative small and medium enterprises program. Its founding partners have more than 20 years of experience in the development and operation of electronic ticketing systems.
As part of its benefits, the platform will show data related to the routes sold the most, so travelers can anticipate demand and plan their trip based on the schedule that fit their needs.
Passengers may also obtain data such as information on the use of boats by residents, local and foreign tourists. Through the online system, the government can implement a presale mechanism that eases the volume at the ticket booths at the ports and provide electronic ticket scanning to eliminate duplicate or false tickets.
The website is part of a general effort to improve the often-chaotic transportation service between Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra. A total of 11 local and federal public agencies are working together to bring the system up to speed, the governor said.
The agencies working on the project are the: Maritime Transportation Authority, the Public-Private Partnerships Authority, Department of Transportation and Public Works, the Ports Authority, the Office of the CIO, the Department Economic Development and Commerce, the Roosevelt Roads Redevelopment Authority, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, the Federal Transit Administration, the U.S. Maritime Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard.