Puneet Varma (Editor)

Pasig River Ferry Service

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Metro Manila

Number of lines
2 (none in operation)

Daily ridership

Transit type
Water bus

Number of stations

Pasig River Ferry Service

SCC Nautical Transport Services Incorporated

The Pasig River Ferry Service, is the only water-based transportation in Metro Manila, Philippines that cruises the Pasig River from Pinagbuhatan in Pasig to Intramuros in the City of Manila. The system is owned and operated by a private company, SCC Nautical Transport Services Incorporated. Although commonly referred to as a ferry, it is more akin to a water bus.


In February 2011, the service was suspended, but was reopened on April 28, 2014.


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 The present Pasig River Ferry Service superseded the two short-lived ferry projects in the entire Pasig River in the 1990s.

Magsaysay Lines

The Magsaysay Lines started operation during the year 1990 and had stations from Guadalupe in then-Municipality of Makati down to Escolta Street in Manila (a total of 15 kilometers), using river-side sheds as stations. The service however lasted only for a year and closed in 1991. Its short-lived operation was beset by problems such as the proliferation of informal settlers along the route, water lilies, garbage and other debris clogging the waters (preventing the boats from traveling at normal speeds), aside from the foul odor permeating the environs.

Starcraft Ferry

In 1996 another ferry service was launched, the Starcraft Ferry. This service's fleet is 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. Unlike Magsaysay Lines, it had a smaller boat aptly name the M/V Tamaraw or the River Taxi, as during this same year the Tamaraw FX service became very popular. It offered a seating of 12 people, also air-conditioned, and can be hired like a taxi service for travel along the river, just like a Tamaraw FX taxi. The route stretched from Bambang in Pasig 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.

The project proponent, Eduardo Manuel, is an environmental conservationist and a licensed SCUBA Diver, who also owns a diving school located at Santo Sepulcro in Paco, Manila. The Pasig River Ferry Transport 2000 project was an improvement of the earlier service provided by the Magsaysay Shipping Corporation. During the course of the operations of the Pasig River Transport 2000, its service offered a fresh solution to the worsening traffic problem of the metropolis, but sadly, the local government units involved in the project fell short in its cooperation with the project proponent, which made it difficult to effectively provide the solution to the traffic problem of the Cities in the Metro Manila areas. During this time there was another business entity who was also interested to offer the same service, the Maharlika Transport, backed by the Uniwide Group of Company (Uniwide Sales, at present they are now the Puregold chain of groceries/superstores) of the Gao family. The two companies had a media battle as the Gao Group submitted the same project to the Philippine Marina and the DOTC.

During that same time, the two companies had a media battle which worked to the advantage of the project as it stirred the interest of the public, and the local government unit involved with the project. Later that same year of 1996, the media battle was won by the PR Group of the Pasig River Ferry Transport 2000, headed by Ms. Maria Rebecca Bacalan-Chica,an independent PR Practitioner,and was also the VP for Operations of the Starcraft Ferry Corporation, the project was awarded to the Starcraft Ferry Corporation, the boat manufacturer and operator of the Pasig River Transport Service. Barely a year of operation the company ceased its operation due to losses in income, as the local government units involved with the project was unable to deliver on their commitments to make the project work.

Current ferry service

The current ferry service was inaugurated by President Gloria 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 to be constructed.

Unlike the previous Pasig River ferry services, this ferry service uses only 10 boats. However, to compensate for it, each boat could have as many as 150 people and had air conditioning, music, high definition televisions and toilets on board. Also, unlike the two previous ferry services, this service has full stations with amenities such as toilets, 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 serves the Marikina River from Riverbanks Center in Marikina although this line is not yet operational.

This ferry service was not without problems. In the early days of the service up to June, 2008, the low passenger turnout nearly caused NTSI (Nautical Transport Services, Incorporated) to go bankrupt and it even considered closing the ferry. However, the continuing surge in the oil prices in the Philippines forced commuters to use alternative modes of transportation, including the ferry. From July 2008, the number of passengers increased 15% every week and almost all boats were full. This and other related events made the NTSI consider purchasing more boats to increase capacity as opposed to closing the line.

Although there were still pollution-related problems, odor and garbage problems were not as bad as they were 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 remained.

This service was also used by the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission to highlight the importance of the environment to the people of Manila. Lectures were conducted to 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).

Planned reopening

The latest Pasig Ferry Service, operated by Nautical Transport Services Incorporated, is being planned to be reactivated by April 28, 2014 to alleviate the traffic situation in Metro Manila in light of the infrastructure projects being constructed simultaneously. The ferry service will be operated by Metro Manila Development Authority until a private investor takes over.

Ferry network

The entire ferry network has 17 stations in operation and 2 lines. The first line is the Pasig River Line which stretches from Plaza Mexico in Intramuros, Manila to Nagpayong Station in Pasig. The second line is the Marikina River Line which serves the Guadalupe Station in Makati up to Santa Elena Station in Marikina.

The Marikina River Line was to begin operation with the opening of the Riverbanks Station near the recently opened SM City Marikina in Marikina. The Marikina River Line as of 23 February 2009 is still closed and is still undergoing vehicular planning.

Through its entire operation, the ferry service changed their trip schedules several times. Each boat has a 30-minute, 1-hour, 2-hour and 3-hour trip intervals depending on the time of the day. Rush hours tend to have shorter boat intervals while off-peak hours tend to have longer boat intervals. This was done to maximize the efficiency of each boats and to reduce over-consumption of fuel.


As of 23 February 2009, there are 17 operational ferry stations:


The system uses twin-hulled, double-engined, catamaran-type ships with a maximum seating capacity of 150 people. The ships 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.


Pasig River Ferry Service Wikipedia

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