MMDA picks 4 stations for ferry boats to ply along Pasig River

March 6, 2014 11:20 am 

MANILA, March 5 -– The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said on Wednesday only four stations instead of 11 stations will be made for the ferry boats that will run through some routes along Pasig River.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino identified the four areas — Guadalupe in Makati City, Sta. Ana in Manila, Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Sta. Mesa, Manila; and Plaza Mexico in Intramuros, Manila which needs to repaint and repair the other pontoons.

Tolentino said the agency chose these four areas because some stations need to be rehabilitated.

The 40-seater ferry boats will start its operation in April using the initial four routes.

The original 11 stations route from Pinagbutan, Pasig City to Plaza Mexico, Manila will commence in June, after the rehabilitation of the pontoons.

Tolentino also said they are going improve the engine of the ferry boats to increase its speed.

The dry-run started from Guadalupe, Makati City to Escolta, Manila with the three tugboats, which were originally used in towing barges and carrying construction machines, converted to passenger vessels.

The 20-meter MMDA ferry boat was built using the body of a shuttle bus painted with yellow. Each unit will be operated by trained and licensed boatmen and is equipped with appropriate safety gears.

Tolentino proposed the revival of the ferry boats in Pasig River system as a means to decongest Metro Manila’s major roads affected by 15 road construction projects, including the Skyway Stage 3 and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport elevated expressway which started two weeks ago.

He said the ferry boat project aims also to invite the private sector to revive the Pasig River ferry system as another solution to evade the gridlock in Metro Manila due to a number of road works from five knots to 12 knots.

The ferry boats are expected to cut down the two-hour travel time from Manila to Makati City to just an hour.

“What we’re trying to do here is to arouse the interest of private firms to operate a ferry system again in Pasig River,” Tolentino said, citing a number of companies that have already expressed interest in taking on the project, including the Nautical Transport Services.

Once a private firm has taken over the project, the ferry boats will serve its role as a rescue and emergency patrol, he said.

“The MMDA only serves as the catalyzer for the river ferry project. Private operators will handle it eventually,” he said.

As for the fare, he said they will discuss it with the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) on Thursday.

The DOTC, Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC), and the MMDA are set to meet to draw operational guidelines and permitting process.

Tolentino said the sea worthiness of the ferry boats is still subject to the approval of the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina).

Records from the PPRC showed that during its ferry operations from 2007 to 2010, passenger count in PRRC-owned stations totaled to at least 1.6 million, including those stations operated by a private nautical transport service company. (PNA)

LGI/CLTC

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