By Dr. Ramon Ricardo A. Roque, CESOI, Diplomate
Is there hope for the Pasig River ferry system to work as a viable mode of transport in Metro Manila? The Duterte Administration believes that there is hope and that it is in the best interest of the public for the government to invest on what it describes as a reliable and predictable ferry system.
There is no question about the availability of the Pasig River as an alternative “road” that can be tapped to partially ease the worsening vehicular traffic problem in Metro Manila.
The Pasig River Ferry Convergence Program of the Duterte Administration specifically targets to increase the number of ferry stations from 12 to 29 along the stretch of Pasig River from Manila Bay to Laguna de Bay. The additional stations are necessary to increase the service capacity of the ferry system to 76,800 passengers per day.
The Program also includes the provision of at least 24 air-conditioned ferries that have a capacity of 50 seats per ferry boat.
On the aspect of passenger service, the Program calls for a system that provides comfortable, predictable, and reliable ferry service.
The air-conditioned ferry boats and the increased number of stations are directed towards the provision of comfort to passengers. The increased number of boats and the planned availability of ferry service every 15 minutes are essential for a predictable and reliable ferry service.
The Program also calls for a private firm to operate the ferry system with the government providing the infrastructure and the design of fares that are competitive with other modes of transportation.
The Program is commendable. It is obviously a concrete and more determined action on the part of the government to actualize the potentials of the Pasig River in serving as one of the solutions to the vehicular traffic problem in Metro Manila.
It is not as if the Duterte Administration is the only one that saw the potentials of Pasig River. Past administrations also saw the potentials and actually put in place a Pasig River ferry service. However, all such actions failed to make the ferry service a significant solution to the Metro Manila traffic problem.
Will additional stations, air-conditioned ferry boats, predictable ferry service, and competitive fares be enough for 76,800 passengers to patronize the Pasig River ferry service daily?
(To be continued)
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