The Pasig River Ferry Service, is the only water-based transportation that cruises the Pasig River from Barangay Pinagbuhatan in Pasig City to Intramuros, Manila. The system is owned by a private company, Nautical Transport Services, Incorporated and is operated by Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission. Although commonly referred to as a ferry, it is more akin to a water bus.
Pollution in the Pasig River contributed to the decline in ferry transport in the river in the 1960s. The present Pasig River Ferry Service superseded the two short-lived ferry projects in the entire Pasig River in the 1990s.
The Magsaysay Lines started operation during the year 1990 and had stations from Guadalupe in then-town of Makati down to Escolta in Manila (a total of 15 kilometers) and the service used sheds as stations. However the service lasted only for a year and it closed on 1991. The problems encountered during the operation were informal settlers, water lilies (since it prevents the boats from traveling at normal speeds), foul odor and garbage disposed on the river.
In 1996 another ferry service was launched, the Starcraft Ferry, this service's fleet was the ancestor of the current Pasig River Ferry Service fleet since this service had 30 units of catamaran-type boats (the same type used by the current Pasig River Ferry Service) with a seating capacity of 30 people with air-conditioning and unlike Magsaysay Lines, the route stretched from Bambang in Pasig City down to Escolta in Manila (a total of 16.2 kilometers). However, like the Magsaysay Lines, Starcraft Ferry only lasted for a year and it closed in 1997. Like the Magsaysay Lines, the problems encountered during the operation were informal settlers, water lilies (since it prevents the boats from traveling at normal speeds), foul odor and garbage disposed on the river.
Present-day Ferry Service
The present ferry service was inaugurated by PresidentGloria Macapagal-Arroyo on February 14, 2007 with five stations operating which includes Escolta, PUP, Sta. Ana, Hulo and Guadalupe. After a year, the entire system grew from 5 stations to 14 stations with more stations still being constructed.
Unlike the previous Pasig River ferry services, the current ferry service uses only 10 boats. However, to compensate for it, each boat can have as many as 150 people and has air conditioning, music, high definition televisions and comfort rooms (Filipino colloquialism for public washrooms) on board. Also, unlike the two previous ferry services, the present service has full stations with amenities such as comfort room, ticketing system, waiting seats and security guards. Also, it is the longest serving ferry in the river, both in terms of length of the route (28 kilometers and 2 lines) and the length of service (although the company did somewhat considered closing the ferry in June, 2008 due to low number of passengers). It is also the only ferry service that services the Marikina River from Riverbanks Center in Marikina City although the line is not yet operational.
The present-day ferry service is not without problems - in the early days of the service up to June, 2008, the low passenger turnout nearly put NTSI (Nautical Transport Services, Incorporated) in the brink of bankruptcy and even considered closing the ferry. Fortunately though, the continuing surge in the oil prices in the Philippines has forced commuters to jam pack in every alternative modes of transportation available, including the ferry. Since July, 2008, the passengers in the service increased 15% every week and almost all boats are now at full capacity. This and other related events made the NTSI consider purchasing more boats to increase capacity as opposed to closing the line.<ref>http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2008/july/22/yehey/top_stories/20080722top4.html</ref>
Although there are still pollution-related problems, nowadays, it seems to be reduced (odor and garbage problem isn't as worse as it did during the Magsaysay Lines and Starcraft Ferry days) through the efforts of the government, but the persistent problem of the water lilies blocking the pathway of the boats and their infestation on the stations on the river remains.<ref>http://www.prrc.com.ph/Transportation.htm</ref>
The present-day service is also used by the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission to highlight the importance of the environment to the people of Manila. Lectures are conducted to both stakeholders from various companies and schools (at least four times a month) and to the regular passengers of the ferry (at least thrice a week).<ref>http://www.prrc.com.ph/PIA2.htm</ref>
The new, revised schedule of the Pasig River Ferry Service effective February 23, 2009.
The entire ferry network has 17 stations operational and 2 lines. The first line is the Pasig River Line which stretches from Plaza Mexico in Intramuros, Manila up to Nagpayong station in Pasig City. The second line is the Marikina River Line which serves the Guadalupe station in Makati City up to Santa Elena station in Marikina City.
The Marikina River Line will begin operation with the opening of the Riverbanks Station near the recently-opened SM City Marikina in Marikina City. The Marikina River Line as of February 23, 2009 is still closed and is still undergoing vehicular planning.
The system uses twin-hulled, double-engined, catamaran-type boats with a maximum seating capacity of 150 people. The boats are air-conditioned, equipped with radio, sound systems, a public address system and utilize fixed plastic chairs. There are rest rooms. These boats were constructed by the Nautical Transport Services, Incorporated and approved by the Maritime Industry Authority on December 10, 2006.
FRF Main Engine: 2 Cummins QSM-11, 355 horsepower each
Marine gears and shafting (model&ratio): ZF 325 1A, 2.037 to 1 ratio, 2 -inch 316ss shaft.
Propeller dimension: 4 blade 30- inch propellers
Design Speed: 19 knots
Operational Speed: 10-12 knots
Fuel consumption: less than 30 liters for both engine per hour. (Operational speed)
Seating capacity: 150 passenger
Tank Capacity: Fuel 2 x 1500 liters
Water: 2 x 1000 Water
Safety Feature: Equipped with 160 life jacket, Radio, Public Address System, Life rafts
Builder: SCC Nautical Transport Service Inc.
Boat Designer: Robert Cole
Cost: Php 15 Million
Amenities: Air conditioned room, Music and High-Definition TV on board, Bar, and Separate comfort room
The stations are air-conditioned and provide rest or comfort rooms. Every station employs cashiers that sell tickets to passengers.
The ticketing system in some stations employ the paper tickets. However, some stations, especially the first 5 stations (Escolta, PUP Station, Santa Ana, Hulo and Guadalupe) employ the bar-coded tickets which are scanned by a bar-code reader in the turnstile.
There are three prices of tickets: a P25, P35 and a P45 ticket. The Pasig River Ferry Service also provides discounts to student passengers. A P20 ticket is available for students regardless of distance traveled.