THE government on Sunday launched a ferry service between Cavite and Metro Manila, offering free rides until Jan. 9.

The Department of Transportation (DoTr) said in a statement the ferry service will operate to and from the Metrostar Ferry Terminal in Cavite City to Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Port in Pasay City. Another route will be operated from the Metrostar Ferry Terminal to Lawton (Liwasang Bonifacio) in Manila and vice versa.

The routes will be operated by Shogun Ships Co., Inc. and Seaborne Ferries, Inc. Both shipping companies agreed to offer free rides during the first month of their operations starting Dec. 9 until Jan. 9 next year.

The DoTr said the “water jeepneys” will cut the usual three- to four-hour travel time from Manila to Cavite to just 15-20 minutes.

After Jan. 9, the regular fare for adults for the Cavite-CCP route, which will be operated by Seaborne Ferries, is P200. Fares for students, senior citizens, and children will be P160, P143, and P125, respectively.

As for the Cavite City-Lawton route, which will be operated by Shogun Ships, fares will be P160 for adults, P128 for students, P114 for senior citizens, and P80 for children (4-11 years old).

There will be eight trips daily between Cavite City and CCP from 6:00 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. The Cavite City-Lawton route will have six trips daily from 5:15 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. — Arjay L. Balinbin