PISA: member-liners’ online ticketing systems functional

Batangas port passenger terminal. Photo from Philippine Ports Authority.
  • Online ticketing systems of all Philippine Inter-island Shipping Association member-shipping lines are functional, the group says in a statement
  • This is amid a call for carriers to keep such systems open during the deluge of passengers this Holy Week
  • PISA says it was constrained to issue the statement “to assure our passengers that PISA member-lines value their safety, comfort and security”
  • The association says it is also reacting to “generalized statements” made regarding the expected long passenger queues at the Port of Batangas port this week

The Philippine Inter-island Shipping Association (PISA) says the online ticketing systems of its member-shipping lines are functional amid a call for carriers to activate such systems during the heavy passenger traffic this Holy Week.

“PISA member lines have and continue to enhance their systems to provide seamless online/electronic purchase of passenger tickets that are user-friendly and accessible for a worry-free travel experience especially as the nation observes the Holy Week,” the association said in a statement.

“And, as with most interactive transactions, we just hope that our telecommunications partners can significantly continue to provide reliable internet connectivity,” PISA added.

PISA said it was “constrained to issue these statements to assure our passengers that PISA member lines value their safety, comfort and security.”

“After watching the news, it is sad to note the generalized statements made regarding the supposed expected long passenger queues at the Batangas port this … Holy Week,” PISA said.

Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) Port of Batangas manager Joselito Sinocruz in a media interview on April 3 said one of the reasons for the queuing of passengers at Batangas port is the shipping lines’ lack of online ticketing systems. Sinocruz said PPA expects about 200,000 passengers will pass through the Batangas port this Holy Week.

PPA general manager Jay Daniel Santiago, in a separate interview, also said the port regulator has informed the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) of the situation at the gateway and have asked shipping lines why they had suddenly switched to a “first come, first served” policy.

Meanwhile, in a statement on April 5, MARINA said it has issued a relaxation order valid from March 26 to April 23, 2023 that allows ships to immediately depart once their maximum authorized passenger and/or cargo capacities are attained. MARINA this will help reduce waiting time for passengers and ensure speedy transportation.

MARINA Regional Office IV (MRO 4) is also coordinating with shipping companies in Batangas port, noting that only two companies, Archipelago Philippine Ferries Corporation (APFC) and Starlite Ferries Inc., have online booking services.

MARINA explained: “Please note that shipping lines operating in the said Port have deployed a maximum number of personnel to manage the 24/7 operations in their ticketing booths. However, due to the limited space provided by the said Port, shipping companies cannot deploy additional manpower who will serve as ambulant tellers.”

Still, MARINA encouraged shipping companies to offer online booking services to minimize queuing time and improve the passenger experience.

PISA is an umbrella association of shipping groups. Its passenger shipping line members include 2Go Group Inc., APFC/FastCat, Chelsea Logistics Holding Corp./Trans-Asia Shipping Lines, and Starlite Ferries.

Together, PISA members provide roll-on/roll-off passenger-cargo services and fast ferries from Manila North Harbor and Batangas port to most of the routes linking Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao and vice-versa.

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