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Relief as Mtongwe ferry services resume

Thursday December 13 2018

Mtongwe FERRY

Passengers disembark from a ferry at the Likoni channel, Mombasa, on April 30, 2018. Services at the Mtongwe channel have resumed. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

WINNIE ATIENO
By WINNIE ATIENO
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The Kenya Ferry Services has restored services at the Mtongwe channel and assured users of continued service, more than two months after it withdrew the ferry.

The withdrawal of the ferry forced residents to use the Likoni channel, leading to congestion.

“As Mtongwe residents, we are relieved that the ferry services have resumed on this route. We can now access Mombasa island via the Mtongwe channel instead of Likoni, which is far,” Mr Ismail Juma, a Mtongwe resident, said.

On Monday, Mombasa Security Committee led by Chairman Evans Achoki, County Police Commander Johnstone Ipara, Likoni MP Mishi Mboko and Likoni OCPD Benjamin Rotich, visited the Mtongwe ferry crossing to assess the situation.

They guaranteed the residents that security has been beefed up to ensure their safety.

The Likoni channel is key in connecting the country to Tanzania through the Lunga Lunga highway.

DECONGEST

The government also plans to instal modern cable cars at the crossway at a cost of Sh5 billion and build the second phase of the Sh30 billion Dongo Kundu Bypass to connect the north and south coasts.

The modern cable cars are expected to ease traffic congestion, address regular ferry breakdowns and boost tourism.

The cars will work seven days of the week, crossing the channel in less than three minutes. The express link will have 22 cable cars, each with a 38-passenger cabin. They will transport 11,000 commuters per hour in both directions.

Ferries take about 10 minutes to cross the channel, but delays of up to 40 minutes have been reported due to breakdowns. Currently, at least 300,000 people and 6,000 vehicles cross the channel daily.

TOURISM

Presently, domestic and international tourism boom has been aided by the launch of direct flights to Moi International Airport in Mombasa and Madaraka Express.

Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Chief Executive Officer Betty Radier said the direct flight was not only an endorsement of the destination but a vote of confidence in the Kenyan coast.

“This is good news for the sector. Together with the private sector, KTB will look into ways of partnering with Qatar airways as well as other airlines to increase passenger numbers into the route,” Dr Radier said.

She noted that the sector recorded 7.8 percent growth in arrivals by air and sea during the first nine months of this year, which is equivalent to 777,791 arrivals up from 723,174 recorded during the same period in 2017.

Most tourists visiting the Coast use the ferry to cross to Diani, Kwale County.

Travellers Beach Hotel Sales and Marketing Manager Wafula Waswa said bookings have risen from 40 percent to 60 percent since the beginning of December.