The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority will reopen on Monday its Pasig River Ferry Hulo and Sta. Ana stations to serve residents in the cities of Mandaluyong and Manila.
This brings to eight the total number of stations open to serve authorized persons outside residence (APOR) while Metro Manila is under the general community quarantine status due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The six other ferry stations are Pinagbuhatan and San Joaquin in Pasig City; Guadalupe and Valenzuela in Makati City; and Lawton and Escolta, also in Maynila.
MMDA chairman Danilo Lim said the Pasig River Ferry Service (PRFS) Is serving APOR, health workers and government employees who need to report for work free of charge from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. while the GCQ status is being enforced in the National Capital Region.
As precautionary measure against the spread of the COVID-19, the PRFS is implementing the following health and safety protocols:
- No mask, no entry;
- Physical distancing shall be observed at all times;
- Passenger who has colds, cough or body temperature with greater than 37.5 degrees Celsius will not be allowed to enter the PRFS premises; and
- Only persons aged 21 to 59 years old will be allowed to board ferry boats.
Medical frontliners and government employees just need to present valid identification cards to avail of the free rides from Monday to Saturday.
“We hope that this effort will be helpful for our health workers and government employees in their transportation needs going to their respective workplaces,” said Lim.
Upon entering the ferry station, medical frontliners and government employees will be required to undergo temperature check. They must also fill-out the manifest form and accomplish the commuter information sheet.
Before the lockdown, the ferry service accommodated an average of 700 to 1,000 passengers a day, a sign that people opt to use the ferry service as an alternative mode of transportation to the already congested Metro Manila road network.
Anticipating an increase in number of passengers, MMDA deputy chairman Frisco San Juan Jr., said more ferry boats will be added and ferry stations will be put up soon to better serve the public with the support of both national and local government units of Metro Manila.
San Juan said local government officials in NCR and private entities have pledged to provide additional boats.
Moreover, plans to construct three more ferry stations, namely: Quinta Market in Manila, Circuit Makati in Makati, and Kalawaan in Pasig to further expand the operations are also underway. Some private groups have also expressed their intention to put up their own ferry stations to serve their immediate areas.
At present, the PRFS has eight boats which can accommodate varying number of passengers.
Aimed to help address the traffic problem in Metro Manila, the relaunch of PRFS has the backing of President Rodrigo Duterte who approved a proposal to institutionalize the Pasig River Ferry Convergence Program, which includes adding more stations for the ferry system.