PASSENGERS using ferries to cross a stretch between Kigamboni and Magogoni in Dar es Salaam have again breathed a sigh of relief as the third ferry, Mv Kigamboni, has started operations.
Minister for Works, Transport and Communications, Eng Isack Kamwelwe launched the ferry in Kigamboni District yesterday, saying it would improve transport services and ease congestion of passengers.
The Mv Kigamboni, the oldest one, was undergoing major repairs since 2018, thus leaving two ferries---Mv Magogoni and Mv Kazi---to operate.
The government allocated 1.09bn/-for its major maintenance which was done by a local contractor, Ms Songoro Marine Transport Ltd.
Completion of its repairs now makes a total of five government ferries that were put under major repairs in the country’s waters.
Other ferries whose major repairs were completed (name of region in brackets) are Mv Kitunda (Lindi), Mv Kyanyabasa (Bukoba), MV Chato (Geita) and MV Ukara (Ukerewe).
“We don’t expect to continue seeing congestion of passengers after the launch of Mv Kigamboni particularly during this time of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Eng Kamwelwe remarked.
MV Kigamboni has capacity of carrying 800 passengers and 22 small vehicles.
Minister Kamwelwe stated that his docket had largely implemented pledges made by the CCM party during the 2015 campaigns on improving water transport by purchasing new ferries and doing major repairs.
Chief Executive Officer of Tanzania Electrical, Mechanical and Electronics Services Agency (TEMESA), Eng Japhet Maselle, said maintenance of MV Kigamboni involved fixing new doors, four new engines of 272.2 horse power and others.
”The repair has met international standards,” he assured. He also said the TEMESA plans to introduce a cashless system to enable passengers also use special cards instead of tickets. The system would allow passengers pay fare weekly or monthly and they only swap at the gate using the card to get access to the ferry. “We will cooperate with the E-Government Authority to implement this,” he said.
Kigamboni MP Faustine Ndugulile told the Minister that MV Kigamboni would relieve the residents from transport challenges.
Dr Ndugulile said about 50,000 passengers and 2,000 vehicles cross the Kigamboni-Magogoni Indian Ocean stretch every day.