The national government has allotted P2 billion to revive the Pasig River ferry system, this time with smaller boats moving through more stations at a faster pace, Makati City Rep. Luis N. Campos Jr. said on Tuesday.
The P2 billion is already in the proposed P3.757-trillion General Appropriations Act for 2019, the lawmaker, who has been pushing for the ferry service’s restoration, said in a news statement.
“The new funding will be spent to build 17 new stations along the 25-kilometer river in the cities of Manila, Mandaluyong, Makati, Taguig, Pasig and Marikina,” Campos said.
He added the new stations will be on top of the 12 previously built under the old ferry system which had ceased to operate.
Once fully operational, the new ferry service is projected to transfer some 76,000 commuters every day on water buses—24 air-conditioned boats with 50 seats each moving through 29 terminals in 15-minute intervals, according to Campos.
The previous ferry service ran aground after the private operator insisted on deploying bigger boats with 150 seats each that took a long time to fill. This caused a decline in ridership due to delayed departures and arrivals.
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority has since been running an improvised ferry service with a limited capacity.
The new Pasig River Ferry Convergence Program is being carried out by 10 agencies led by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
“The program is assured of continuous funding since it is led by the DBM no less, which is good,” Campos said. “We expect the government itself to run the new ferry service, should private firms be unwilling to come in,” he said.
The lawmaker said P328 million has also been allotted to help the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) renew the river to its historically pristine condition conducive to transport, recreation and tourism.
“The PRRC is getting P150 million for the Pasig River Esplanade-Lighting of Bridges Project, plus P178 million to revitalize the river’s esteros and creeks,” he said.
The targets for rehabilitation include the Estero de la Reina in Manila; the East Bank Road, Manggahan Floodway in Barangay Santa Lucia in Pasig City; Ermitaño Creek in San Juan City and the Taguig-Pateros River in Barangay San Pedro in the municipality of Pateros.