In line with the government’s continuing plans to provide alternative modes of transportation, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) was given P176 million under the 2020 national budget to fund the Pasig River Ferry System.
Senate Finance Committee chair Sonny Angara said the funding of the ferry system is partially intended for the procurement of four 50-seater air-conditioned boats in addition to the two passenger boats currently in use.
The MMDA has nine passenger boats but only two are being used daily.
“There seems to be no end in sight for traffic in Metro Manila. We were given a brief respite after Christmas last year but now traffic is back with a vengeance. Motorists and commuters alike have to suffer being stuck in traffic for hours,” said Angara.
“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,” added Angara.
The budget for the improvement of ferry stations’ accessibility, intermodal transfers, maintenance of the fleets, information materials, communication equipment and service vehicles will also be covered by the funding.
Angara said pathways and transportation of commuters going to the ferry stations should be part of the plan so the public will be enticed to use the ferry system.
There are currently 11 ferry stations along the Pasig River route, located in the cities of Pasig, Mandaluyong, Makati and Manila.
“We still have a long way to go before the revitalized ferry system that is being envisioned becomes a reality, but this is a good start. We owe it to the public to continuously provide them with solutions to problems such as traffic congestion,” Angara said.