MARINA urges shipping firms to revive ferry system

Posted at 02/19/2014 6:06 PM

MANILA – As heavy traffic in Metro Manila looms due to road construction projects, the Marina Industry Authority (MARINA) is pushing for the revival of the ferry system to provide commuters an alternative mode of transportation.

MARINA deputy administrator Nicasio Conti said now is the right time for shipping companies to invest in the ferry system.

"Now is the time to closely consider making an investment in the business of ferrying passengers similar to that being undertaken by the mass transit systems such as the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT)," he said.

He also advised members of the Philippine Ship Agents Association (PSSA) to invest in small passenger vessels instead of bigger ferries that may take longer waiting and loading time.

"There will be no traffic. You simply have to wait for the boat to arrive. And the operators have to adhere strictly on the loading and departure schedule so as not to incur delay. This will make the trips predictable on the part of the riding public similar to that of the MRT and LRT," he said.

PSAA and several ship owners have requested MARINA to furnish them with a feasibility study, reports of previous operations, and documents that could guide them in venturing into a revival project.

The last Pasig River ferry service transported commuters to 17 stations along a 15-kilometer route from Plaza Mexico in Intramuros, Manila, to Nagpayong in Pasig City before it shut down in 2011.

The ferry service as halted due to the decline in volume of passengers, and navigational hazards such as the proliferation of water lilies and the foul smell emanating from the river.

It was the third failed attempt to have a ferry service along the Pasig River.