National and local government officials called on commuters to try the relaunched Pasig River Ferry Service (PRFS).
During the relaunching ceremony at the Lawton Ferry Station in Manila, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Danilo Lim said the PRFS is a viable alternative for commuters wishing to avoid the hassle of vehicular congestion in the streets of Metro Manila.
“Isipin ninyo yung trapik natin sa Edsa (Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue) — samantalang dito walang traffic, tuluy-tuloy. Nanggaling kami kanina sa Guadalupe hanggang dito sa Lawton, 45 minutes (Think about the traffic in Edsa — instead here there’s no traffic, it moves continuously. We came from Guadalupe going here at Lawton, it took 45 minutes),” Lim said.
MMDA General Manager Arturo “Jojo” Garcia, meanwhile, said early studies project the passenger capacity of the PRFS to reach 40,000 per month, or 10,000 at the minimum, which would have at least a moderate impact on the volume of vehicles in the Metro’s roads.
“Yung 10,000, ilang bus yan? 200 bus, 100 bus, ilang jeep yan? So kahit papaano makatutulong. (That 10,000, how many buses would it take to carry that? 200 buses, 100, buses, how many jeeps? So, this would help at least a little),” Garcia said.
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, in his keynote speech at the event, said the PRFS will be free starting Monday until the end of January next year to encourage commuters to use the alternative mass transport service.
He also asked the MMDA to look into the possibility of providing the service for free for a longer period — or if possible, to subsidize the project in its entirety.
Lim said the MMDA will exert efforts to bring this to reality, or to at least provide the ferry service at a discounted price.
“Kung pwede lang sana libre na ito habang si President Duterte ay nakaupo. Pero ginagawan natin ng paraan — kundi man libre, at least babaan natin yung [pamasahe] (If only it’s possible to provide this for free while President Duterte is in office. But we are finding ways — if not free, at least a cheaper fare),” Lim said.
Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno Domagoso hailed the PRFS as possibly one of the most efficient alternative ways of transport within Metro Manila and said that his office is in talks with the MMDA to find additional stations to supplement the service’s current 11 stations.
“Napag-usapan namin ni Chairman Lim kung pupwede yung Quinta Market, daungan. Para lahat ng taga-Pasig na nagsisimba tuwing Biyernes, papunta sa Quiapo, hindi na kailangan magdala ng kotse, motor (Chairman Lim and I discussed if it’s possible to dock at the Quinta Market. This is for those who live in Pasig who goes to church on Fridays at Quiapo. They won’t need to bring a car or a motorcycle anymore),” Domagoso said.
Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, meanwhile, said he expects the improved service of the PRFS to have a big effect on commuters, especially since Pasig City is the “gateway of the eastern Metro Manila corridor.”
In a bulletin, the MMDA said Lim ordered the refurbishment of all 11 ferry stations along the Pasig River and the sourcing of additional boats to further improve and increase the viability of the ferry service.
Currently, the PRFS has seven boats in total — two boats with a capacity of 57 passengers, 3 boats with a capacity of 36, and 2 boats with a capacity of 16.
Two of these have been loaned by the Pasig City government to the MMDA, with another two from the City government of Manila.
The MMDA also installed closed-circuit television cameras in all stations for increased safety of passengers while PRFS personnel have also undergone a refresher course in first aid.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology also provided free Wi-Fi in all ferry stations to increase the comfort of passengers.
The MMDA said the ferry service runs from Pinagbuhatan in Pasig City to Escolta in Manila:
Stations in Pasig City: Pinagbuhatan, San Joaquin, and Maybunga
Stations in Makati City: Guadalupe and Valenzuela
Station in Mandaluyong City: Hulo
Stations in Manila City: Lambingan, Sta. Ana, PUP, Lawton, and Escolta. (PNA)