OceanJet, the only fastcraft plying the once busy Tagbilaran-Cebu sea route, reported an almost twofold increase in passenger arrivals after the provincial government eased entry protocols in Bohol.
Data from Ocean Fast Ferries, Inc. which operates OceanJet showed that average daily arrivals surged to 51 in the one-week period of March 3 to March 9 from 27 in the previous week of February 24 to March 2.
Entry into Bohol was significantly relaxed starting March 3 through Executive Order No. 17, later amended by EO 17-A, which only requires a single negative result from an RT-PCR test taken 72 hours prior to arrival in the province.
The EO also waived the need for repeat testing for extended stay in the province and the previous requirement of a 14-day quarantine.
Based on data from Ocean Jet, these were the number of passengers who arrived from February 24 to March 9:
- Feb 24 – 32
- Feb 25 – 15
- Feb 26 – 28
- Feb27 – 27
- Feb 28 – 15
- March 1 – 31
- March 2 – 39
- March 3 – 47 (EO SIGNED AND IN EFFECT)
- March 4 – 72
- March 5 – 49
- March 6 – 62
- March 7 – 24
- March 8 – 39
- March 9 – 63
According to OceanJet Tagbilaran supervisor Prociline Reroma, they are planning to add more trips between Tagbilaran and Cebu if the number of passengers continue to increase.
“Depende ra sa pasahero, kung ang volume mo daghan, anytine pwede magpadugang ta’g barko kay daghan man ta’g barko na nakastandby na ready for deployment,” Reroma said.
The number of outbound passengers to Cebu City has been steadily increasing in the past weeks as the neighboring city also eased entry protocols.
Reroma said that Cebu City no longer requires COVID-19 testing prior to entry.
“Gitawagan ko sa Coast Guard adtong Saturday, totally g’yud na wa na,”she added.
Since the start of the pandemic, Ocean Jet decreased its number of roundtrips between the two cities from 17 per day to just one due to low demand for sea travel amid the pandemic.
Ocean Jet was forced to ground some of its vessels at a dry dock. (A. Doydora)