MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Metro Manila Development Authority on Monday revealed its plan to revive the Pasig River ferry service as an alternative to the traffic-ridden roads in the National Capital Region.
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said that the agency will kick off the ferry service by April and will continue to handle its operations until a private company can take over the project.
“Marami pang proseso para sa public-private partnership pero ‘pag may private sector na pumasok [sa ferry service], out na kami,” he said.
The 25-kilometer Pasig River connects Manila Bay and Laguna de Bay. It passes through the cities of Manila, Makati, Mandaluyong and Pasig.
Tolentino hoped that the ferry service will be an alternative option for Metro Manila commuters as two major projects – Skyway 3 extension and Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway Phase 2 – have started. The projects have been projected to worsen traffic in the metro for at least two years.
The Skyway 3 will connect the North Luzon and South Luzon Expressways via an elevated expressway over the Osmeña Highway, while the NAIA Expressway will stretch from Sales Road in Pasay City to Macapagal Avenue in Parañaque City. Construction on the Skyway 3 project started Monday, February 17, while that on NAIA Expressway commenced two weeks ago.
Not just for transport, also for tourism
For his part, Ronald Naguit, Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission executive director, noted that the ferry service’s revival may also be a tourist attraction.
“We are in favor of reviving the ferry service. We have seen its potential not just in the transportation aspect but also in tourism,” he said.
Naguit noted that the previous ferry service in 2011 was closed due to “low ridership.”
And to prevent this problem, Naguit said they will enhance the information and education campaign for the service.
According to Naguit, MMDA, PRRC and the Department of Transportation and Communication are set to meet within the week to finalize the tripartite agreement concerning the revival project.
He added that the meeting may also discuss the route of the ferry service.
Currently, there are two proposals for the route: Guadalupe to Intramuros in Manila or Guadalupe to Pinagbuhatan in Pasig City. (MNS)