Blunder That Delayed Ksh5.8B Likoni Cable Car Project

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    A cable car ferrying passengers in a foreign country
  • Before the Likoni Floating Bridge got praised and criticised in equal measure at the coast, the area residents were once hopeful that a high speed cable car project would immensely cutback their commute time.

    Approved in 2015, the project, valued at Ksh5.8 billion, was expected to reduce the crowding and cut the time commuters use to cross via the ferry to just three minutes.

    Four years since its scheduled construction that was set for 2017, the project has never kicked off.

    Gerald Muigai, the chair of Likoni Cable Express, one of the companies tasked with developing the project, however, explained that standards to govern the largely new technology had not been developed.

    Cable cars while on transit
    Cable cars while on transit.

    He further noted that the project was the first-ever in Sub-Saharan Africa and the standards to govern the industry were first to be developed before its construction and subsequent launch to the public.

    "We needed to develop standards first. And all these were not within the expected time frames for developing projects. So this pushes you back.

    "We have spent time with Kenya Bureau of Standards. Remember this is a new thing. It has never happened in Sub-Saharan Africa," stated Muigai according to a report by People Daily.

    The project was admitted into the public-private partnerships (PPP) pipeline under the Privately Initiated Invested Proposal (PIIP) in 2015.

    It was expected to transport over 5,500 people one way per hour translating to hourly two-way transportation of 11,000 commuters who would part with between Ksh20 and Ksh100 depending on the peak hours.

    “The expected output will be the provision of an aerial cable connection on the Likoni crossing complete with the actual system, associated infrastructure and billing/management capability,” read the statement from the proposal.

    The cars were to be constructed across the busy Likoni Channel and was to commence in 2017 after receiving Cabinet approval.

    Transport PS Solomon Kitungu, in December 2020, also cast doubts on the completion of the project that was to be undertaken by Trapos Limited alongside Likoni Cables, noting that the decision depended on sponsors.

    "The cable car is not necessarily to be substituted by the floating bridge

    "The project sponsors will have to respond accordingly. If they ascertain that there is no market, then they might not proceed with it," Kitungu stated at the time.

    In July 2020, Senators had raised concerns over the plan by Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) to install the cable car project, saying the project was not viable. The Senate Roads and Transport Committee said the proposed user charges of Ksh 20 per foreigner was not sustainable.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta unveils the Liwatoni Floating Bridge in Likoni, Mombasa