MANILA – The garbage along the Pasig River remains to slow down the ferry boats to travel at normal speed, an official of Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said on Sunday.
During the MMDA’s weekly radio program, Rey Lunas, MMDA planning officer, said trash and other debris in the river thwarted the propellers of the ferry boat which also cause filter problem.
He added that aside from the garbage, the proliferation of water lilies also extended the travel time to hours.
Meanwhile, the river’s foul smell due to informal settlers near the river, according to Lunas.
Informal settlers are known to throw garbage directly in the river.
MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino has called on the local government units to help in cleaning the dirty waterways that connect to the Pasig River.
Last month, Gina Lopez, chairperson of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC), said they will start cleaning the Pasig River this year.
She said around P5 billion was spent in cleaning the Pasig River in the past three years, but it is still dirty since most of the waterways in Metro Manila flow in there.
MMDA announced that the free ride and services of the Pasig River ferry system will be extended until May 15.
This will be the third extension of free rides covering the route between Pinagbuhatan and Guadalupe station; Guadalupe to Escolta station; and Guadalupe to Plaza Mexico in Intramuros via Polytechnic University of the Philippines station.
The Pasig River ferry system is now on its second week of providing free rides and services since commencing operation on April 28.
During the first week of the Pasig Ferry operation, at least 5,000 people had availed of its free rides.
Lunas said the passenger count this week decreased by 147.
“We were trying to fill up the boats, medyo mabagal pa ‘yung frequency namin ngayon kasi nga we are building the ridership,” he said.
The MMDA revived the Pasig River system to reduce traffic in the metropolis, which is expected to get heavier when at least 15 other road projects start this year.
Each boat has a capacity of 30 persons and covers the following routes: Pinagbuhatan in Pasig City to Guadalupe in Makati City; Guadalupe to Escolta in Manila; and Guadalupe to Plaza Mexico in Intramuros via PUP in Sta. Mesa, Manila.
Tolentino said they will release the fare matrix of the ferry boats on May 15, which ranges from P25 to P50.
The boat ride is expected to cut down the two-hour travel time from Manila to Makati City to just an hour.
The MMDA also cited that this project aims to bolster Metro Manila’s tourism and can be used for disaster and rescue as well.
The alternative mode of transportation in the Pasig River is a collaborative effort by the MMDA, Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), and Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission.