The Metro Manila Development Authority on Thursday introduced a new commuter boat to improve the service of the Pasig River Ferry system as an alternative mode of transportation in the metropolis.
The inauguration of the 20-seater brand new ferry boat at the Guadalupe Station in Makati City marked the last day of official duty of MMDA chairman Emerson Carlos, who served the agency for more than eight months.
The brand new fiber glass boat brings to 16 the total number of MMDA-run ferries in commercial operation.
“Smaller, but quicker. All in all, we now have a total of 16 operational ferries in our fleet. These will service passengers along Pasig River, which stretches from Pasig City up to Plaza Mexico in Manila,” said Carlos.
The ferry network covers terminals in Pinagbuhatan, and San Joaquin in Pasig City; Guadalupe and Valenzuela in Makati City; Hulo in Mandaluyong City; PUP Sta. Mesa, Sta. Ana, Lambingan, Lawton, Escolta, and Plaza Mexico, all in Manila.
The system operates from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily from Mondays to Sundays.
MMDA records showed that the total ridership of the ferry system has reached more than 150,000 as of March.
“This is our way to help the people find an alternative mode of transportation. We all know that major roads are congested because of numerous projects like the Skyway Stage 3 and the Naia elevated expressway,” Carlos said.
The MMDA revived the Pasig River system in April 2014 as a means to decongest Metro Manila’s major roads affected by 15 road construction projects being implemented by the Aquino administration in the next two years.
The program also aimed to boost Metro Manila’s tourism and can be used for disaster and rescue purposes as well.
The government stopped the Pasig River Ferry operations in 2011 following complaints from passengers about the long waiting time at the terminals and the foul odor emanating from the river.
Carlos, in his farewell message to MMDA personnel, said the agency has been unrelenting in keeping afloat the operations of the Pasig River Ferry Service, an alternative mode of transport of residents in the cities of Mandaluyong, Makati, Taguig, Pasig and Manila.
“My last instruction to our people is to continue all the programs we have started. Prepare for the rainy season, and double their effort in the next period. The MMDA is a daily crisis concern center. Immediate concern that should not be abandoned,” he said.
Carlos advised his successor to “listen to the people and listen to the MMDA heads because they know better.”
“Sometimes we think our idea doable but you have to consult the people who have seen it, those who experienced it and then you will realize, they tried it already,” he said.
Malacañang designated Carlos as the MMDA chairman late last year following the resignation of Francis Tolentino who ran for senator in the May 9 elections.