DEPUTY Prime Minister Manasseh Maelanga on Thursday joined the public to cross the Mataniko river on a boat a group of boys is using to ferry people to both sides of the river.
Those using the service are charged $2.
Besides the boat, others used rafters to ferry people across.
The boys from the devastated Koa Hill settlement seized the opportunity after the one-lane bridge was destroyed in the April 3 floods.
Mr Maelanga parked his vehicle on the western side of the river due to the unbearable traffic congestion in Honiara and decided to take the boat to go to a shop in Chinatown.
“It’s faster to stop on the other side and just use this short cut into Chinatown,” he said.
The deputy prime minister also commended the boys for seizing on the opportunity to make some money from people using their service.
“The boys are providing an important public service while at the same time earning a bit of money for themselves,” he said.
It takes less than a minute for the rafters and the boat to be pulled from one side of the river to the other.
The boys earn between $6 to $20 per trip.
The New Zealand Government has offered to build a temporary bailey bridge to replace the destroyed one.
The bailey bridge is expected to be operational by the end of next month.
By BRADFORD THEONONI