Residents of coastal Kenya find it hard to use the newly constructed 824-metre-long bridge.
According to them, access to the Sh1.9 billion bridge has been a hindrance.
“It is not easy to access the bridge, you have to walk over a long distance because there are no matatus to that channel. It is easier to access the Likoni ferries,” Mohammed, a resident said.
One month after its commissioning, the bridge has attracted fewer users as the matatu terminals being constructed on both sides of the bridge have delayed.
The Likoni ferry crossing channel serves over 300,000 people and over 6,000 vehicles every day, but the floating bridge is serving less than 4,000 people daily.
Aisha Juma said the bridge is quite long for users.
“At the ferry, you just stand or sit and wait to be ferried across, whereas with the bridge you have to walk for almost one kilometre,” she said.
According to Patrick Tuva, the bridge is only useful for the people who stay near the crossing point.
“I cannot walk from Shelly Beach area where I reside and walk several kilometres to access the bridge. I would rather wait at the ferry,” Tuva said.
However, some residents have welcomed it.
Martha Mutua, who lives less than 100 metres from the bridge on the mainland side, said she takes less than 10 minutes to cross over to Mombasa Island.
“I work around Moi Avenue in Mombasa town. I can now access my place of work without paying a single cent,” Mutua said.
However, congestion is still being experienced at the Likoni ferry channel, despite the opening of the floating bridge and the resumption of the Mtongwe ferry services.
The floating bridge operates between 5am and 8am and from 4pm to 7pm. The Mtongwe ferry also serves the commuters during morning and evening peak hours.
On January 10, when a tour company bus plunged into the Indian Ocean while boarding the ferry at Likoni, the Kenya Ferry Services management and the police forced commuters to use the Likoni floating bridge as an alternative.
In the following days, the number of commuters using the bridge rose to over 60,000 per day, according to Kenya National Highway Authority’s statement to the public.
On January 14, Kenha said the bridge serves a pedestrian count of over 65,000 people daily, an increase in usage from 4,000 people a day in its first week of operation.
“The bridge has offered relief to pedestrians crossing from the Island of Mombasa to Likoni and vice versa. With the increasing awareness of the facility, the numbers are anticipated to grow,” Kenha said.
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