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Mtongwe ferry services suspended again

Commuters and traders using Mtongwe channel have raised concern over frequent suspension of ferry services.

Traders using the channel are the most affected by the withdrawal of services caused by frequent breakdown of ferries.

Mtongwe ferry users have since Monday been forced to use the Likoni channel following the suspension of the services.

MV Likoni, which operates at Mtongwe channel has been deployed to the busy Likoni channel following the withdrawal of two ferries MV Kwale and MV Harambee.

REPAIRS

Kenya Ferry Service (KFS) Managing Director Bakari Gowa said the two vessels, which operates at the Likoni channel are currently undergoing repairs.

MV Kwale’s propeller is being overhauled that is why it has not been operating for the last two days and MV Harambee had a major breakdown after its shaft broke and is also being repaired,” said Mr Gowa.

This has left three ferries operating—the recently launched MV Jambo, MV Kilindini and MV Likoni, which is supposed to be operating at the Mtongwe channel.

President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the Mtongwe ferry services in March. In May, KFS withdrew the MV Likoni from Mtongwe and redeployed it to the busy Likoni channel to ease traffic.

WASTE TIME

Speaking to Nation on Thursday, commuters complained that they spend more as they are not alerted on time when the ferry services are suspended.

“Today is the third day that we have been forced to use the Likoni channel because of the suspension of services at Mtongwe. We have to be constantly informed if there are any problems so that we do not waste our time and money going all the way to Mtongwe and then forced to return to Likoni channel,” said Bakari Mwikali, a trader.

Another commuter, Ms Mwamvua Hamadi wondered why the recently launched Mtongwe channel was not operating as anticipated.

PEAK

“They (Kenya Ferry Services) wanted to please their bosses by launching services at Mtongwe,” she said.

KFS on Tuesday and Wednesday posted the suspension of the services on its Twitter account.

“We kindly urge Mtogwe ferry users to use the Likoni channel. We apologise for inconveniences caused” the post on Twitter read.

Meanwhile, the new ferry, MV Jambo, has been carrying vehicles only leaving people to use the other available ferries.

This is despite operating during morning and evening peak hours to ease congestion.

TURKEY

The commuters are supposed to occupy the upper deck, according to the design of the ferry which was built in Turkey.

However, Mr Gowa said the move was as a result of the ongoing training of the coxswains, who have not familiarise themselves with the new ferry.

“We are also minimising the risk. We will start ferrying people once the operators get used to the new ferry,” said Mr Gowa.

Commuters have since Monday been forced to use the Likoni channel.

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