PPA eyes e-ticketing implementation to ease burden of ship, ferry passengers

Have you experienced spending more time in long queues just to buy a ferry or passenger ship ticket than the actual travel time for an island-province trip?

Or, "The Amazing Race"-like experience to beat the departure time of another ferry or ship if your destination requires at least two vessels?

Well, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) hopes to resolve this hell-like burden of passenger vessel travelers through the implementation of the electronic ticketing system in all the 24 ports it supervises nationwide.

PPA General Manager Jay Santiago said the e-ticketing system is their solution to ease the burden of passengers especially during long school and work breaks.

"The electronic ticketing system is part of our big electronic management system. It aims to assist our kababayan from spending a lot of time in long lines just to purchase a ticket in our ports," Santiago told the Manila Bulletin in an interview.

"What we want to address through this project is the usual long lines that passengers have to endure whenever they go to their hometowns or go on a vacation to take advantage of long breaks. We feel how stressful it is and how tiring it is on the part of the passengers," he added.

Santiago cited the recent Holiday break for instance wherein thousands of passengers have to spend long hours in ports that resulted in heavy traffic in all the roads leading to the ports, as well as the congestion in the ports' passenger terminals.

"Through the e-ticketing system, our kababayan can now plan their travel," said Santiago.

How it would work

Santiago said the e-ticketing system will have a platform wherein all the shipping lines would be connected.

The portal includes the schedule of all travels such as the expected departure and arrival time from and to the ports, as well as a system that would enable booking and ticket payment.

"Our kababayan can log on to this portal and plan their travel in just one sitting at the comfort of their homes, offices or wherever they are," said Santiago.

In eyeing the e-ticketing implementation, Santiago also cited cases wherein passengers, whose destinations require at least two sea travel, have to fall in long queues at least two times.

At the Batangas port for instance, he said passengers have to manually buy a ticket at the port and fall in another line at a port in Mindoro for another sea travel.

"Through this e-ticketing system, the travel of the passengers would be worry-free and comfortable," said Santiago.

Digital shift

Santiago said the e-ticketing system is one of the two full digitization efforts that they want to implement for 2023 aside from the Trusted Operator Program - Container Registry and Monitoring System (TOP-CRMS), which uses technology for up-to-date container tracking allowing customers, carriers, freight forwarders, and shippers to access the status of their cargoes and containers.

The TOP-CRMS is expected to keep a registry and monitor all inbound shipping containers that will track every foreign-owned container’s location and movement using the industry- accepted data interchange formats through encrypted channels.

Under TOP-CRMS, only container deposit insurance and monitoring fee worth P980 and P3,408 empty container handling service fee must be paid by importers compared to almost P30,000 container deposit in the current existing system.

Santiago said the digitization efforts of the PPA is part of the instruction of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. for a digital shift both for the comfort of the public and in the ease of doing business in the country.

The e-ticketing system is also expected to boost tourism in the Philippines.