2 firms eye Pasig ferry services by April
MANILA, Philippines – Two companies are interested in operating ferry services along the 27-kilometer Pasig River that will serve as alternative for commuters who want to avoid heavy traffic in Metro Manila.
One of the companies is actually the original operator, Nautical Transport Services, according to Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.
Nautical Transport launched the Pasig ferry service in 2007, during the term of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. It had 5 stations, namely, Escolta, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Sta. Ana, Hulo, and Guadalupe, and eventually increased these to 14. It suspended operations in 2011 due to lower passenger turnout and losses.
Abaya said the other interested company, Pinoy Catamaran, is a "new entrant."
"They said they could do it immediately. They are ready to operate in April," he said.
“This is a segment [where] there is demand and they are confident about the business,” Abaya added.
The role of the Department of Transportations and Communications (DOTC), he said, is to lay down a set of parameters to make sure that the services will be viable.
“Our obligation is to set the fares, issue franchise, fix up the stations a little, and put in key performance index to make sure they depart and leave on time,” the DOTC chief explained.
He emphasized that that it is important for the services to be on time to "keep passengers interested."
Abaya said the project may be undertaken under the Aquino administration's Public-Private Partnership program.
Last week, the Metro Manila Development Authority began testing an initial fleet of ferry boats along Pasig River. It converted 3 of its tugboats into passenger vessels capable of carrying 40 persons each. It also wants to start operations in April, although the details such as fares have yet to be ironed out. – Rappler.com