goFerry is a Free application created by a Hong Kong investment company, SINO Dynamic Solutions Limited, but own and operated by a Malaysian travel company called AsiaTravelMart. I will go into why this is important later in this review. The vendor refers to its application as the first iPhone application to allow mobile purchases of ferry tickets between Hong Kong and Macau on one of the three companies: TurboJet, Cotai and New First, which it does.

The steps for purchasing tickets are quite straight forward. They are as follow:

  1. Choose whether you like to purchase a one-way or round trip ticket.
  2. Choose the date of your departure.
  3. Choose the terminal to depart from.
  4. Choose the terminal to arrive at.
  5. Choose the date you like to return, if you're purchasing a round trip ticket.
  6. Next the user is presented with a warning that the "Main Contact" is the only person who will be able to pickup the tickets. I believe the the taxonomy used here should be change to refer to the individual as the person picking up the tickets.
  7. The Main Contact Details form is what the user have to complete next.
  8. In the Main Contact Details form, the developers failed to set the Email field to a email type field, so the user have to keep switching the keyboard of the iPhone to enter the complete email address.
  9. After the personal information of the Main Contact is submitted, the user has to provide payment information, this being the credit card details. On the Payment Details form the user is not asked to enter the type of credit card, presumably the application is determining this by the first 4 digits of the credit card number.
  10. I did not continue to what I believe is the final step, because I did not want to purchase a set of tickets. You can see from the Payment Details form the user is able to accept (default) or reject the Terms of Conditions, but there is no link to see the details of the T&C.

There are no indication that any of these personal and financial information are sent to the goFerry service via a secure channel. There are also strange design decisions in the application. For example, the progress icon and terminal names/details are bi-lingual but the rest of the application are in English. The goFerry.hk website also tries to be multi-lingual, and has the ability to choose among Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese and English versions, but the English version contains mainly Chinese content. When you click on most links in the English version it will redirects to the Chinese version of the site. This is so typical of Hong Kong web developers, another sign of sloppiness and not paying attention to details.

One major issue with the workflow of the application is that it does not protect the user from purchasing ridiculous itinerary like the one I have created in error; note that my return time is before my departure time on the same day. It places the responsibility on the user to ensure the itinerary is accurate. I always believe applications; more to the point application developers, should do as much as possible to assist the end-user. Not including such a simple test is simply lazy on the part of the developers.

There is an issue with the list of available ferries from the search. It is simply a list of departures sorted by departure time in accending order. This is not too convenient for comparing ticket prices and times of departure. There should be a very simple presentation for both of these types of comparisons. Not that Hong Kong/Macau ferry pricing are complicated but it should be done much better.

As the last step in the workflow the application requires the end-user to provide credit card details including the CVV code. Although I was not able to find a Privacy document within the application, the FAQ or the goFerry.hk website. Their Terms of Use also does not mention or explain how the company will use and protect these personal and financial information.

When you take into account of my first paragraph in this article and the above, it becomes even more dangerous for the end-user to use this application to purchase tickets.

Let me explains the issue with SINO Dynamic Solutions Limited and the Malaysian company, AsiaTravelMart, that owns and operates the goFerry services. The website for AsiaTravelMart is not accessible, and any information found on the Internet about AsiaTravelMart are either marketing information or negative reviews.

To make things a bit more suspect, Alexander Kong, the principal behind this application and service, currently has an outstanding bankruptcy case against him, involving SINO Dynamic Solutions Limited and AsiaTravelMart.