The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority is set to resume operating the Pasig River Ferry Service system and will expand the operation in Laguna de Bay.
The MMDA made the announcement Friday when it received 55-seater M/B Phileco, its latest ferry boat donated by Reghis Romero II, chairman of the Philippine Ecological Systems Corporation (Phileco).
The new boat brings to 11 the number of ferries used by the agency in the program.
MMDA chairman Danilo Lim said PRFS was preparing to operate soon which would be compliant to the physical distancing policy and other health protocols to ensure that the service would be safe for passengers.
READ: DENR heads Pasig River clearing operation
“Once operational, our passengers would continue to enjoy the free rides,” said Lim, during the turn-over ceremony of the boat held at the Guadalupe Station in Makati City.
Lim thanked Phileco for supporting the agency, saying the new boat was a big help to provide alternative mode of transport to Metro Manila residents.
The MMDA stopped the operation of the ferry service last March after the government imposed a lockdown in Metro Manila to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease.
The MMDA chief also revealed the agency planned to put up additional stations in Marikina City and even up to coastal towns within the Laguna De Bay area.
“We expect to receive more donations from different companies and on the part of MMDA, procure additional boats to help ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila,” said Lim.
MMDA deputy chairman Frisco San Juan Jr., who heads the PRFS, said M/B Phileco would be used in transporting passengers and ferry tours in coordination with the Department of Tourism.
Romero, for his part, said his company was pleased to support the Office of the President and MMDA’s initiative to make Pasig River ferry an alternative mode of transportation amid traffic problems in Metro Manila.
READ: Pasig River free ferry service extended—MMDA
“We are pleased to enjoy the Pasig River that can transport passengers from different places in Metro Manila. In response to the President and MMDA’s call (to help), we are donating a ferry boat. We take pride in being a part of the MMDA PRFS project,” said Romero.
Four months ago, the Pasig City government also donated two 57-seater boats.
M/B Mutya ng Pasig 1 and 2 are equipped with closed-circuit television cameras and overhead electric fans for ventilation and toilet room for the convenience of passengers.
Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto said he was confident that through their donated boats, the goal to increase ridership would be met.
“Improved facilities, more boats, information dissemination, and consistency will make the PRFS ridership increase and even double in number,” he said.
Since its relaunch in December last year, the average number of passengers riding the ferry daily is at 700 to 1,000.