Pasig River Ferry Service

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Pasig River Ferry Service
Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission Logo.png
Pasig Ferry.JPG
Overview
OwnerSCC Nautical Transport Services Incorporated
LocaleMetro Manila
Transit typeWater bus
Number of lines1
Number of stations12
Daily ridership2,000
Operation
Began operationFebruary 14, 2007
Operator(s)SCC Nautical Transport Services Incorporated
Number of vehicles10
Technical
System length28 km (17.40 mi)
Average speed10 knots (19 km/h)
Top speed17 knots (31 km/h)

The Pasig River Ferry Service is the only water-based transportation in Metro Manila, Philippines that cruises the Pasig River from Pinagbuhatan in Pasig to Intramuros in the City of Manila. The system is owned and operated by a private company, SCC Nautical Transport Services Incorporated. Although commonly referred to as a ferry, it is more akin to a water bus.

In February 2011, the service was suspended, but was reopened on April 28, 2014 and is currently operated by the Metro Manila Development Authority.[1]

History[edit]

Pollution in the Pasig River contributed to the decline in ferry transport in the river in the 1960s. The present Pasig River Ferry Service superseded the two short-lived ferry projects in the entire Pasig River in the 1990s.

Magsaysay Lines[edit]

The Magsaysay Lines started operation during 1990 and had stations from Guadalupe in then-Municipality of Makati down to Escolta Street in Manila (a total of 15 kilometers), using river-side sheds as stations. The service however lasted only for a year and closed in 1991. Its short-lived operation was beset by problems such as the proliferation of informal settlers along the route, water lilies, garbage and other debris clogging the waters (preventing the boats from traveling at normal speeds), aside from the foul odor permeating the environs.

Starcraft Ferry[edit]

In 1996 another ferry service was launched, the Starcraft Ferry. This service's fleet is the ancestor of the current Pasig River Ferry Service fleet since this service had 30 units of catamaran-type boats (the same type used by the current Pasig River Ferry Service) with a seating capacity of 30 people with air-conditioning. Unlike Magsaysay Lines, it had a smaller boat aptly name the M/V Tamaraw or the River Taxi, as during this same year the Tamaraw FX service became very popular. It offered a seating of 12 people, also air-conditioned, and could be hired like a taxi service for travel along the river, just like a Tamaraw FX taxi. The route stretched from Bambang in Pasig down to Escolta in Manila (a total of 16.2 kilometers). However, like the Magsaysay Lines, Starcraft Ferry only lasted for almost three years and it closed in 1999. Like the Magsaysay Lines, the problems encountered during the operation were informal settlers, water lilies (which prevent the boats from traveling at normal speeds), foul odor and garbage disposed on the river.

The project proponent, Eduardo Manuel, is an environmental conservationist and a licensed SCUBA Diver, who also owns a diving school located at Santo Sepulcro in Paco, Manila. The Pasig River Ferry Transport 2000 project was an improvement of the earlier service provided by the Magsaysay Shipping Corporation. During the course of the operations of the Pasig River Transport 2000, its service offered a fresh solution to the worsening traffic problem of the metropolis, but sadly, the local government units involved in the project fell short in its cooperation with the project proponent, which made it difficult to effectively provide the solution to the traffic problem of the Cities in the Metro Manila areas. During this time there was another business entity who was also interested to offer the same service, the Maharlika Transport, backed by the Uniwide Group of Company (Uniwide Sales, at present they are now the Puregold chain of groceries/superstores) of the Gao family. The two companies had a media battle as the Gao Group submitted the same project to the Philippine Marina and the DOTC.

During that same time, the two companies had a media battle which worked to the advantage of the project as it stirred the interest of the public, and the local government unit involved with the project. Later that same year of 1996, the media battle was won by the PR Group of the Pasig River Ferry Transport 2000, headed by Komfie Manalo, an independent PR Practitioner,and was also the Marketing Manager of the Starcraft Ferry Corporation, the project was awarded to the Starcraft Ferry Corporation, the boat manufacturer and operator of the Pasig River Transport Service. After barely a year of operation the company ceased its operation due to losses in income, as the local government units involved with the project was unable to deliver on their commitments to make the project work.

Manuel's group also entered into a partnership with R-II Builders to operate the Laguna Lake Ferry Transport Service with terminals in Los Banos, Laguna and Binangonan, Rizal. The Laguna Lake ferry operation proved to be more profitable than the Pasig River operations and held more promise if only more boats were deployed for that route. But the falling out between Manuel and R-II Builders saw the collapse of the project with Manuel taking over full operations of the Laguna Lake ferry service in late 1998 until it's eventual closure in 1999.

Current ferry service[edit]

Passengers in one of the boats of the ferry service in 2008
M/R E. Tolentino, one of the ferry boats of the Pasig River Ferry Service

The current ferry service was inaugurated by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on February 14, 2007 with five stations operating, including Escolta, PUP, Sta. Ana, Hulo and Guadalupe. After a year, the entire system grew from 5 stations to 14 stations, with more stations still to be constructed.

Unlike the previous Pasig River ferry services, this ferry service uses only 10 boats. However, to compensate for it, each boat could have as many as 150 people and had air conditioning, music, high definition televisions and toilets on board. Also, unlike the two previous ferry services, this service has full stations with amenities such as toilets, ticketing system, waiting seats and security guards. Also, it is the longest serving ferry in the river, both in terms of length of the route (28 kilometers and 2 lines) and the length of service (although the company did somewhat considered closing the ferry in June, 2008 due to low number of passengers). It is also the only ferry service that serves the Marikina River from Riverbanks Center in Marikina, although this line is not yet operational.

This ferry service was not without problems. In the early days of the service up to June, 2008, the low passenger turnout nearly caused NTSI (Nautical Transport Services, Incorporated) to go bankrupt and it even considered closing the ferry. However, the continuing surge in the oil prices in the Philippines forced commuters to use alternative modes of transportation, including the ferry. From July 2008, the number of passengers increased 15% every week and almost all boats were full. This and other related events made the NTSI consider purchasing more boats to increase capacity as opposed to closing the line.[2]

Although there were still pollution-related problems, odor and garbage problems were not as bad as they were during the Magsaysay Lines and Starcraft Ferry days. Through the efforts of the government, but the persistent problem of the water lilies blocking the pathway of the boats and their infestation on the stations on the river remained.[3]

This service was also used by the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission to highlight the importance of the environment to the people of Manila. Lectures were conducted to stakeholders from various companies and schools (at least four times a month) and to the regular passengers of the ferry (at least thrice a week).[4]

Reopening[edit]

The latest Pasig Ferry Service, operated by Nautical Transport Services Incorporated, was reactivated on April 28, 2014[5] to alleviate the traffic situation in Metro Manila in light of the infrastructure projects being constructed simultaneously. The ferry service is operated by Metro Manila Development Authority until a private investor takes over.[6]

Ferry network[edit]

Plaza Mexico is the westernmost station.

The entire ferry network has 12 stations in operation. The first line is the Pasig River Line which stretches from Plaza Mexico in Intramuros, Manila to Pinagbuhatan Station in Pasig. The second line is the Marikina River Line which serves the Guadalupe Station in Makati up to Santa Elena Station in Marikina.

The Marikina River Line was to begin operation with the opening of the Riverbanks Station near the recently opened SM City Marikina in Marikina. The Marikina River Line as of 23 February 2009 is still closed and is still undergoing vehicular planning.

The Pasig River Ferry Service is open every Monday to Saturday from 6:30 am to 5:30 pm.

Fare start from ₱15 to ₱95.

Through its entire operation, the ferry service changed their trip schedules several times. Each boat has a 30-minute, 1-hour, 2-hour and 3-hour trip intervals depending on the time of the day. Rush hours tend to have shorter boat intervals while off-peak hours tend to have longer boat intervals. This was done to maximize the efficiency of each boats and to reduce over-consumption of fuel.[7]

Stations[edit]

As of 12 April 2017, there are 12 operational ferry stations:[8]

Pasig River Ferry Service is located in Metro Manila
1
1
2
2
3
3
4
4
5
5
6
6
7
7
8
8
9
9
10
10
12
12
13
13
14
14
17
17
Locations of the Pasig River Ferry Service stations; places of the numbers in relation to the markers denote if the station is at the north or south bank of the river.
# Station Location Notes
1 Plaza de Mexico (Manila) Intramuros, Manila near Bureau of Immigration (Philippines), Manila Cathedral and Manila Central Post Office
2 Escolta Street Binondo, Manila near Jones Bridge
3 Liwasang Bonifacio Liwasang Bonifacio, Ermita, Manila near Quezon Bridge, Liwasang Bonifacio and Manila Central Post Office
4 Polytechnic University of the Philippines Santa Mesa, Manila near Philippine Coast Guard Station
5 Santa Ana Santa Ana, Manila Santa Ana Public Market and Savemore
6 Lambingan Punta, Santa Ana, Manila Bautista Street, Brgy. 897, Zone 99
7 Valenzuela Valenzuela, Makati near Bonaventure Garden Homes, Riverside Studios Manila and LTO Makati District Office
8 Hulo Hulo, Mandaluyong near Parish of Our Lady of the Abandoned Church
9 Guadalupe Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati near Guadalupe MRT Station and Commercial Mall
10 Maybunga Maybunga, Pasig beside Maybunga Barangay Hall
11 San Joaquin San Joaquin, Pasig near Sumilan and Bambang Bridge
12 Pinagbuhatan - Acacia Pinagbuhatan, Pasig near C6 Bridge Philippine Coast Guard Station

Fleet[edit]

The system uses twin-hulled, double-engined, catamaran-type ships with a maximum seating capacity of 150 people. The ships are air-conditioned, equipped with radio, sound systems, a public address system and utilize fixed plastic chairs. There are rest rooms. These boats were constructed by the Nautical Transport Services, Incorporated, and were approved by the Maritime Industry Authority on December 10, 2006.

Fleets used and operated by the MMDA are notably named after past MMDA Chairmen.

See also[edit]

References[edit]