Cash payment discouraged to ride Kitsap Airporter

The in basket: My friend Linda Verbon of Las Vegas tried to book a trip to Seattle-Tacoma Airport aboard the Kitsap Airporter recently. She wanted to travel that very day and pay cash. She was refused, and told to use a credit or debit card.

That didn’t seem right, she said. She’d paid cash to ride the Airporter before. 

So had I, I told her. I went looking to find out if something had changed.

The out basket: No, says Dick Asche, founder and still owner of the Airporter service.

Linda’s problem, he said, was the unfortunate confluence of making a same-day reservation and wanting to pay cash.

Thirty years in the business has taught him that a high proportion of such reservations become no-shows, he said. 

People on limited budgets and without plastic often make reservations in case they can’t catch a ride another way, which they often do.

Giving a credit or debit card number also is an incentive to call to cancel if their plans change, he said.

No shows cost him a lot of money, he said. Even if there is another paying passenger at the stop the no-show designated, so the driver hasn’t gone out of his way unnecessarily, his dispatchers may have turned down other would-be riders on that bus because the reservations taken say the bus will be full after its last stop before the airport. 

A no-show also keeps a driver from departing early when all other reserved passengers are aboard, a safeguard against unexpected delays later in the trip.

And, as anyone who has ridden the Airporter knows, boarding is a lot quicker when the driver doesn’t have to take cash, make change and write a receipt.

The Airporter’s brochures and Web site (kitsapairporter.com) strongly encourage making reservations one to seven days in advance and paying by debit or credit card. 

Dick said Linda’s inquiry has caused him to add the following to the Web site, when his Webmaster can get it done:

“Cash payments for same-day reservations to the airport are generally discouraged.”

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