Free ride, coffee as MMDA reopens Pasig ferry system

MANILA, Philippines – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is finally reopening the Pasig River ferry system with a twist: free ride and free coffee for one week.

The ferry system will be reopened on Monday, April 28, with 5 boats from at least two private operators, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said in a statement Thursday, April 24.

The boats will run along 3 routes:

It has been 3 years since the Pasig ferry system was shut down in 2011 due to losses. (READ: Pasig River: Solution to Metro Manila traffic?)

Talks of re-opening the alternative transportation started early this year, as stakeholders looked for different solutions to the traffic problems of Metro Manila, in light of at least 15 major roadwork projects that started this year. (READ: The MRT Survival Guide)

Aside from decongesting major roads of Metro Manila, the reopening of the ferry system – an effort by the MMDA, the Department of Transportation and Communications, and the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission – can also be used for disaster and rescue purposes and is seen to possibly boost tourism in the metro. 

MMDA tested an initial fleet of ferry boats last March, even converting 3 of its own tugboats into passenger vessels that can each carry 40 persons 

The Philippine Coast Guard, meanwhile, said it would provide security once the ferry system relaunches, keeping a rescue team on standby along the Pasig River in case of accidents.

The ferry service will be free for passengers for one week starting Monday to Friday, May 2, from 6 am to 7 pm. – Jee Geronimo/Rappler.com