The government is rolling out the Pasig River Ferry System as an alternative mode of transportation for Metro Manila commuters for the third time after five years, according to a "24 Oras" report by Mark Salazar.
There are five ferries currently operational, traveling across 11 stations, from Pasig to Manila.
Commuter Evelyn Dayrit believes that the ferry system can help alleviate heavy traffic on the streets.
"Hindi 'man ito maging final solution sa ating traffic, makakabawas naman, 'di ba? Maiku-kwento ko na sa mga apo ko na sumakay ako dito at kumportable," she said.
Dayrit is among the growing number of passengers who have been commuting on water via the river ferry.
"Kung dati nag a-average ng at least 200-250 yung ridership ng ating Pasig River ferries, ngayon as early as 12:30 ng tanghali umakyat na tayo ng 250. 'Yun na halos ang overall ridership natin nung mga nakaraang buwan," said MMDA spokesperson Assistant Secretary Celine Pialago.
According to Salazar's report, travel time intervals from one station to another can take one to two hours. Sometimes, travel time can take longer if a ferry becomes non-operational.
Asked about why the ferry system was not successful when it was rolled out in 2014 and 2015, Pialago said the ferries often experienced mechanical problems while maneuvering through trash in Pasig River.
"Mechanical problem po 'yung nagiging dahilan kung bakit hindi nagiging successful ang operation ng ating mga Pasig ferries...Nakasagasa pa ang ferries natin ng sofa ng refrigerator yung mga floating basura," she answered.
At present, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Philippine Ports Authority will be acting as river ferry traffic enforcers, while the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will be in charge of the ferry system.
Recently, the PCG banned the double berthing of barges and other seacraft, including water ferries. Double berthing is akin to the concept of double parking for cars. — Angelica Y. Yang/BM, GMA News