The passenger ferry system along Pasig River will be operate “full blast” late in April, with more private companies interested in running it.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino on Thursday said that by last week of April, five terminals will be opened using ferries owned and operated by the private sector.
The terminals will be in Plaza Mexico, Escolta, Sta. Ana., Sta. Mesa in Manila and Guadalupe in Makati City.
Tolentino said all the 12 existing terminals will be eventually opened.
After a closed-door meeting with officials of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), Tolentino said four companies are expected to join the bidding for the ferry operation.
The bidding process makes the project transparent and in compliance with the Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.
“MMDA will not operate the ferry per se we are just there to support,” Tolentino told reporters.
Cherie Lysse Bonifacio, DOTC’s assistant secretary for planning, said the role of the agency is to facilitate the franchise application of interested operators to the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina).
Bonifacio said the fare will be regulated by Marina and the tripartite committee composed of MMDA, DOTC and the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC), Bonifacio said.
“For the fare it will be regulated by the Marina but we have to come to an agreement with the tripartite committee to step in to regulate the fare to make sure nobody will taking advantage of the situation,” she added.
PRRC Chairperson Regina Paz Lopez said the ferry terminals will be maintained and operated by the commission.
“We will operate it I would like to say I’m excited about it because Pasig River will become more functional,” she added.
RITCHIE A. HORARIO