Marine Atlantic reservation system almost ready

NORTH SYDNEY, N.S. — The ride between Port aux Basques, N.L. and North Sydney, N.S. just got more organized — or at least Atlantic truckers hope.

Starting Feb. 22, Marine Atlantic’s website will feature the much-hyped reservation service for commercial customers to book space on the cargo ferry ahead of time.

The company will start accepting reserved customers March 15, and will start accepting reservations online in April 2010.

The system is designed to give companies and carriers a more accurate estimate of travel and delivery times, along with providing a reserved space for trucks or units travelling.

Marine Atlantic hopes the improvement in their booking system will translate to less downtime for drivers, less fuel consumption overall and reduced wait times.

Truckers who use the service routinely complain of operational setbacks, mechanical problems and delays; and have urged the Crown Corporation improve efficiencies.

Commercial reservations are also paid for in advance which also cuts time spent waiting to pay. Their aim is to make check-ins quicker and more organized. Regulatory information must be provided at the time of reservation, including size, weight and contents of the vehicle.

Marine Atlantic decided to implement the new system after meeting with representatives from the trucking industry. They took the feedback provided to create this new system. They do note that wait times during their peak summer season will probably be unavoidable, even with the new booking system.

To introduce the system properly to commercial carriers and drivers, Marine Atlantic will be holding information sessions about the new system Feb. 15-19. To make a reservation for those sessions, please call Jeanie Lamar at 709-772-8957 or contact her via e-mail at 

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