THE commuting public from southern Cebu can now evade the dreaded traffic along the national highway by not riding public utility vehicles—jeepneys and buses.
They do not have to walk because now they can ride a boat—a sea jeepney—starting Monday, Oct. 28, 2019. It is operated by MCE Shipping Lines.
“This is to help decongest the traffic and to also serve the public from the southern city of Naga and neighboring towns reach Cebu City where the universities, companies and markets are located,” said MCE chief executive officer and owner Nelson Mejia.
MV Nicole Express, the sea jeepney’s proper name, is set to embark on her maiden voyage on Monday morning.
The sea vessel has a schedule of 10 trips daily, from 5:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. It can ferry more than 400 passengers to and from Naga City Wharf and Cebu City Pier 1 every day.
The regular fare is P60 per passenger. However, students, senior citizens and persons with disabilities can enjoy a 20-percent fare discount, so they only have to pay P48. Infants and children up to three years old are free of charge.
Mejia said the sea jeepney can accommodate 45 persons, including its crew. He said his company plans to increase the boat’s capacity to 60 persons, depending on the demand.
The shipping firm’s target commuters are the workers, students, traders and tourists.
“Our one trip is equivalent to three jeepneys on land transport. But that’s still the minimal effect and by the end of this year, if the operations of this vessel will turn out okay, there is a probability that we will add two or more vessel to sail the Naga City-Cebu City route,” Mejia said.
MCE Shipping Lines may deploy two more sea jeepneys by November or December as thousands of passengers are expected to go home during the holidays.
Based on the company’s study, there are about 20,000 to 40,000 commuters from the south—in the cities of Carcar and Naga, and in the towns of San Fernando and Minglanilla.
“So we urge the public to utilize this mode of transportation as this is one of the solutions against the traffic,” Mejia said. (JOB)