To expedite the development of the Pasig River ferry system as an alternative mode of transport for Metro Manila commuters, Sen. Sonny Angara said P176 million has been provided in the 2020 budget under the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.
Angara, Senate finance committee chairman, said the budget will be used to buy four 50-seater air-conditioned ferry boats that will supplement the current fleet being operated by the MMDA.
The move, Angara said, will make the Pasig River ferry system more viable as a mode of transport especially with traffic congestion in Metro Manila getting worse everyday.
At present, there are nine passenger boats in the MMDA inventory, but only two of these are operating daily.
“There seems to be no end in sight for traffic in Metro Manila. We were given a brief respite after Christmas Day last year but now traffic is back with a vengeance. Motorists and commuters alike have to suffer being stuck in traffic for one to four hours or more, depending on where you are from and where you are going to,” Angara said.
“The skyway systems that aim to ease traffic along the major thoroughfares such as EDSA are still under construction but this doesn’t mean that we can do nothing to help our commuters. We have to look for solutions and the Pasig River ferry could help,” Angara added.
Apart from the purchase of more ferry boats, the funds will also be used by the MMDA to improve the ferry station accessibility and intermodal transfers.
There are 14 ferry stations along the Pasig River but only 11 of these are operational. The present system can transport passengers from Pasig-Mandaluyong-Makati-Manila.