Commuters, traders cry foul as Mtongwe ferry suspended

Commuters alight from Mv Kwale at the Likoni Ferry crossing. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Commuters alight from Mv Kwale at the Likoni Ferry crossing. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Commuters using the Mtongwe channel have raised concerns over suspension of ferry services.

Traders using the channel are the most affected by the breakdown of ferries and suspension of transport services.

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

Kenya Ferry Service (KFS) managing director Bakari Gowa said the two vessels that operate at the Likoni channel are currently being repaired.

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

This has left three ferries in operation — the new  Mv Jambo, Mv Kilindini and the Mv Likoni.

Commuters said the cost of transport had gone up and accused the KFS management of not communicating to them in advance the withdrawal of ferry services.

“Today is the third day we have been forced to use the Likoni channel because of the suspension of services at Mtongwe. This is not fair to us. 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, Mwamvua Hamadi claimed the Mtongwe ferry was introduced for political reasons.

“...we knew they were not ready to re-introduce the services here. They only did it for political purposes and now we are suffering,” Ms Hamadi said.

Mtongwe ferry users have since the beginning of this week been forced to travel through the Likoni channel following the suspension of services.

“We kindly urge Mtogwe ferry users to use the Likoni channel. We apologise for inconveniences caused,” KFS said on its Twitter account on Tuesday and Wednesday.