Congestion is once again expected at the Likoni crossing channel as thousands of people gain access to the facility following the lifting of the order on cessation of movement in and out of Mombasa.
The suspension of the ban by President Uhuru Kenyatta will now see hundreds of commuters and motorists from Kwale use the Likoni channel.
Kwale residents, who depend on the ferry services ,were despite their lockdown being lifted last month not allowed to get into Mombasa where the channel is located.
The cessation of movement order had seen the Likoni channel solely being used by the county residents hence giving the Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) an easy time to manage both the crowds and delays.
Now, with both Kwale and Mombasa residents free to use the channel, the KFS management is staring at a similar situation to that witnessed in March when corona first came knocking.
Delays and congestion were, then, a permanent thing at the channel which normally sees up to 320,000 people use the ferries in a day.
The situation eased up after Kwale County was put under lockdown and when the start of the nationwide curfew was moved from 7pm to 9pm.
With the current developments at hand, KFS has since revised its operations as it seeks to realign itself with the covid-19 containment protocols set by the Ministry of Health.
In a notice seen by Shipping& Logistics, Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) said it had consolidated the general crossing timing and expanded the existing ferry operations.
This, KFS said, is to cater for both pedestrian and vehicular traffic at the busy Likoni.
In the new schedule operation, the management will be deploying more ferries for pedestrians during both morning and evening peak hours.
Between 5am to 8am, for instance three ferries will be serving commuters with only one set aside to be used by motorists.
After one hour and 30 minutes of operation that morning, both the passengers and vehicles will be using two ferries each. This will run from 8am to 9:30am.
Then, from 9:0am to 3pm evening, pedestrians will only be using one vessel while motorists would be provided with two ferries during that time.
This will go up to 5pm in the evening when the schedule will then change and three ferries will be deployed for people crossing on foot up to 7.30pm.
This is the evening peak hour, therefore only one ferry will be used by vehicles.
Until congestion is cleared around 7.30pm then the pedestrians will start using one ferry while three vessels will be provided to the motorists up to 8.45pm when the operations will be stopped because of the curfew.
In its earlier plan of the operations, KFS had motorists using the channel to be only ferried from 11am to 2p.
This, the management said, was to allow smooth flow of pedestrians using the four ferries available Mv Safari, Jambo, Mv Kwale and Mv Kilindini.
The decision to ferry vehicles in the stipulated time was reached following a stakeholders meeting between county and national administration officials and the KFS management.
This was as a result of chaos that was witnessed on the first day of curfew when police brutally beat up pedestrians for flouting rules.
Motorists were caught up in the melee and some had parts of their vehicles broken when police engaged the hundreds of commuters.
The surging crowd engaged the police in a running battle as they rushed home to beat the dawn to dusk curfew imposed by the government.
Since then, operations have been running smoothly at the channel with only a few incidents being reported.
Motorists have, however, blamed the management for giving too much attention to the pedestrians.
“We also use the channel for important things that we want to do in our day. But we just pray for normalcy to return soon,” said Mr Michael Omondi, a motorist.