DOTr plans to develop ferry system in Manila Bay, Pasig River, Marikina River, Laguna Lake

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is looking for a private sector partner to develop a ferry system that will traverse Manila Bay, Pasig River, Marikina River, and Laguna Lake. The government aims to provide alternative routes linking the east and west corridors of Metro Manila.

Leonel Cray De Velez, DOTr Assistant Secretary for planning and project development, announced that they will start the bidding process for the mass transport project next year. This comes after the completion of a viability study.

The DOTr is working with the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center of the Philippines to conduct the feasibility study, which is expected to be completed within the year.

One of the key aspects of the study is the demand for the ferry system. De Velez emphasized the importance of understanding how many people will use the system before making significant infrastructure investments.

The project cost, including the acquisition of ferry boats and related infrastructure, will be determined based on the passenger demand review.

Aside from constructing ferry stations, the DOTr plans to integrate multi-modal transport facilities for seamless transfers. De Velez mentioned the possibility of establishing bike lanes going to ferry stations and allowing bikes on board the ferries.

In line with efforts to decarbonize transportation, the DOTr is also considering deploying electric boats along the routes to improve sustainability, safety, and efficiency in domestic shipping.

Furthermore, the DOTr is planning to construct 200 new seaports across the country by 2028 to enhance connectivity among remote islands. Each terminal is estimated to cost between P20 million to P80 million.

The transportation department is also keen on building and expanding 14 roll-on/roll-off ports across the archipelago to accommodate the increasing passenger traffic on sea terminals. Philippine Ports Authority reported a 24 percent surge in passenger traffic to 73.61 million last year, although still below the pre-pandemic level in 2019.

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