THE Metro Manila Development Authority announced on Friday that they would be extending the operating hours of the Pasig River Ferry starting December 1.
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said this is aimed at assisting Christmas shoppers and travelers and accommodate more passengers, particularly gift-hunters in Manila’s Divisoria and Escolta commercial districts.
“We are doing this in anticipation of the Christmas rush. I am optimistic this will help ease traffic jams, specifically in areas where shopping malls and bazaars are located,” Tolentino added.
The ferry system is seen as an alternative to land-based public transport such as taxis, buses and jeeps. Traffic is expected to grow heavier in Metro Manila as the holidays draw closer.
At present, it uses nine boats that can accommodate up to 30 passengers each. Fares range from P30 to P50.
Revived last April, the ferry service has six stations from Pinagbuhatan in Pasig City to Intramuros in Manila.
Starting December 1, the Pasig River ferry will operate from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. This is one hour longer than the regular schedule.
But starting December 16—the start of the traditional nine-day Simbang Gabi (Midnight Masses)— the operating hours will be extended further for passengers in Santa Ana and Sta. Cruz churches in Manila.
In these areas, Tolentino said the ferries will start operations as early as 4 a.m “to offer traffic-less transportation to churchgoers.”