The more than 300,000 commuters battling to cross the Likoni channel in Mombasa every day will soon find welcome relief with an announcements that the Kenyan government is not only commissioning two new ferries but also has an ambitious plan to build a cable car line across the Kilindini Port.
Kenya’s Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary, James Macharia, announced in early August (2017) a contract to pave the way for the construction of the cable car will be signed ‘soon’ and that construction is expected to start in December. The project will cost KSH5.5 billion (€45m) and is expected to ease traffic between Mombasa and the popular holiday resort of Diani on the South Coast.
The government has already ordered two new ferries at a cost of Sh2.1 billion, the first of which is starting operations and the second vessel scheduled to be delivered in November. Each of the ferries has a capacity to carry 1,350 passengers and 64 cars.
Hoteliers and tour operators in Diani have attributed a slowdown in business to transport problems claiming tourists are delayed at the Likoni channel when ferries break down. In the past Diani has been popular with foreign holidaymakers because of its beauty and potential for water sports such as diving, sailing and fishing. However, many are delayed while travelling between Moi International Airport in Mombasa and the resort area at the channel.
Kenya Ferry Services MD, Bakari Gowa, confirmed the project, saying the public-private partnership could take up to 18 months to complete. The planned cable cars on a 500-metre long wire would transport 80,000 passengers a day.
It is estimated that the Likoni Express Cable car will take two and a half minutes to cross the 500-metre stretch. Currently, ferries take between five and 10 minutes to move passengers across the channel but breakdowns cause delays of up to 40 minutes.
The project will involve 32 cable cars, each carrying 38 passengers carrying 5.000 people per hour.