Cebu Water Bus (not a Water Taxi) by Maxboat Marine Corporation Envisions to Save Cebuanos from Traffic

The Water Bus, envisioned by Maxboat Marine Corporation, will soon be the first of its kind to run in Cebu and, based on our research, the 2nd in the country with the Pasig River Ferry Service in Metro Manila being the first.

Pasig River Ferry Service

(c) Philstar

Water Bus VS Water Taxi VS Ferry

To eliminate the confusion, I feel the need to discuss what is a water bus as opposed to a water taxi. The name itself denotes the main differences as these terms are taken from their land counterparts. Buses, and in this case, water buses, operate on specific routes with scheduled stops at bus stops (port stops in this case) along the route.

A water taxi on the other hand will run on demand, with no particular route, much like how a land taxi works. In the Philippines, we found the Davao Express Water Taxi as an example of this kind of service.

davao express water taxi

(c) Davao Express Water Taxi

A ferry is a water transport service that services 2 points. The easiest example for this would be the ferry boat service from Pier 3 Cebu City going to Mactan.

cebu mactan ferry boat

With these technicalities in mind, Maxboat Marine’s soon to be operational sea transport service should fall under the water bus category.

Maxboat Details

To get the most accurate details regarding Maxboat’s water bus service, I took the time to talk to their CEO and founder, Barbara Salmero.

First off, a little company background. Maxboat is a designer and builder of boats with an office located in Private, Cebu City and a shipyard at Danao City, Cebu. With this background, they have more than enough knowledge and experience to not only design and manufacture the boats to be used as water buses, they are also best fit to operate them.

maxboat water bus

(c) Maxboat

It should be noted, however, that the company is also open to other operators to cater to the vast potential of the market. In fact, this is the reason why Maxboat will not be operating the Cebu City to Liloan water bus route because this route is going to be operated by one of their boat building clients.

When Will the Water Bus Start Operations?

The water bus service is set to officially start operations around May or April 2018.  5 vessels are scheduled to start operating by then.

The initial sea trials as well as official launching is set on March 2018.

What Routes Will the Water Bus Have?

According to Barbara, the transport service is set to service all ports accessible to it around Cebu. At the moment, they are studying the use of pontoon docking systems to make the water bus more convenient and easily accessible to more people.

To start with, here are the routes that Maxboat is eyeing for:

maxboat water bus routes


Please take note that the base of operations will be on one of the Piers in Cebu City and from there, it can go to Naga City, Dalaguete and Santander to the South. North route from Cebu City goes to the ports of Danao and Bogo City.

Water Bus Fares and Travel Times

These are the initial estimates according to the CEO herself:

  • Naga – PHP 50.00
  • Dalaguete – PHP 60-80.00
  • Santander – PHP 100.00
  • Danao – PHP 60.00
  • Bogo – PHP 100.00

Seating capacity = 70

Again, these rates all come from one of the ports in Cebu City.

It should also be noted that this is the pricing scheme for the non-aircon water buses and that their aircon counterparts will be slightly higher. However, given the fact that there wouldn’t be any pollution on the sea and, from my personal experience in riding the Cebu-Mactan ferry boats before, I reckon the sea breeze during the trip would be more than sufficient for most people to have a comfortable travel.

In comparison, these fares are surprisingly much cheaper compared to the current bus fares for the same routes. In fact, Barbara mentioned that their vision is actually to provide better transport to these locations at about half the price at half the travel time! That’s right, half the time and instead of charging more for it, they are going to charge nearly half the price as well!

This translates to the following travel time estimates*:

  • Cebu City to Dalaguete – less than an hour About 1 hour
  • Cebu City to Santander / Bogo – less than 2 hours  About 2 hours

*These indeed seem too fast even if we travel on land. I’ve verified this with the company and they have altered the statement to what they are now above.

Water Bus Safety & Weather Restrictions

Once it starts, the water bus will no doubt adhere to Coastguard guidelines and that means if there’s a storm signal #1, they won’t be able to operate. However, Barbara assures us that the vessel’s hulls are actually quite capable of withstanding storms as they are designed to take on 3-meter–high waves and storm signal #3—even on open water.

The vessels even come with electronic equipment that can detect how much rough sea its passengers can take before they throw up.

With these details in mind, we can be assured that the company naturally has the safety of its passengers first going way beyond the standard in terms of what is required to operate it.

Contact Details

If you have more questions for Maxboat, they can be reached on the following numbers:

266-8919 / 0923-5402809

Miss Janice will be more than willing to accommodate you.

With the long process of getting a mass transport system to get operational for Cebu, I’m sure you will agree with me when I say, this will surely be a welcome addition to the many solutions offered for our excruciating traffic woes.