Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Cable cars coming to Likoni Channel- Flying’ across the channel

Cable cars moving over an ocean. The Kenya Ferry Service plans to introduce the vehicles at the Likoni Channel from March next year. [photo: courtesy]
Tired of the overcrowded and erratic services of the ferry at the Likoni Channel? Well you will soon be ‘flying’ across the channel courtesy of a cable car.

The car will offer passengers a beautiful scenery of the splendid shores and the ocean.

According to Kenya Ferry Services (KFS), the car, the first of its kind Kenya, will be introduced from March next year.

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The cable cars will have a capacity to carry 11,000 passengers per hour in both directions. The trip, which normally takes about ten minutes, will now take only two minutes by the car. However the car cannot carry vehicles or heavy luggage.

A ride will cost Sh20 during off peak hours and Sh50 during peak hours. Yesterday, KFS signed an agreement with a private company to establish the express cable car service across the 500m channel.

The service, linking Mombasa island and south mainland, is expected to reduce the long traffic jams and also boost tourism in the South Coast by providing pedestrians with an alternative crossing for the channel and, in the process, reduce delays.

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The state-of-the-art infrastructure is also expected to attract tourists and provide a panoramic view of the whole Mombasa region from the 100m high cable service. The concession agreement between KFS and Trapos Limited will last for 30 years.

300,000 people

Trapos Africa is the consultant for the public-private partnership project and KFS said the project will take 14 months to complete after construction work commences.

KFS Managing Director Bakari Gowa (pictured) said once operational, the cable cars will ferry close to 20 per cent of the ferry users (80,000 people per day), thus easing congestion on the ferries.

KFS estimates that 300,000 people and 6,000 vehicles cross the Likoni Ferry Channel daily.

“When this is actualised then we can comfortably talk about value addition to destination Kwale and the larger South Coast at large,” Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (Kahc) Coast branch Executive officer Sam Ikwaye said.

He added that over time, Kenyan tourism has sold the pristine beaches and its cultural history and heritage but such new infrastructure investments like cable cars will add a great deal to the aesthetics of Mombasa and Likoni Ferry channel which is currently dreaded by both locals and international tourists.

Kwale County executive in charge of Tourism, ICT and Investments Adan Sheikh said the new development besides easing crossing time will be a major tourist attraction.

Separately, the Tourism Fund has set in motion plans to start leisure cable car operations in Baringo and Elgeyo Marakwet counties where a consultant is set to carry out a feasibility study.

The cable cars will be the first to be constructed in Kenya, with South Africa the only African country currently running them to attract tourists.

The two counties will take advantage of escarpments in the area to construct the cableways that will see tourists taken for rides over the valleys.

“A key challenge facing the (tourism) sector is over reliance on a narrow product range and therefore there is urgent need to diversify the tourism product range by introducing niche products like the cable car in other tourism corridors,” the Tourism Fund said in an expression of interest in media adverts.

The consultant will be expected to undertake analysis of the proposed project sites, including demand analysis and how much the project will cost.

It is estimated that the two projects will cost Sh2 billion

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