KFS Board Chairman Ramadhan Kajembe (left) with MD Bakari Gowa (right) and Dr Eustace Mwarania (centre), the chairman of Trapos Group, the company that will build a cable car line across the Likoni channel cut a cake on December 13, 2017 after the signing of the agreement on the project. PHOTO/NMG

Commuters using the busy Likoni channel in Mombasa are only two years away from enjoying cable car services.

This is after Trapos Ltd and Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) Wednesday signed the concession agreement of the Sh5.8 billion project at the KFS offices.

Construction work will begin next year and will take two years, with commuters set to start enjoying the cable car services from 2020.

In an earlier statement to newsrooms, KFS communications officer Aaron Mutiso said: “The project is on schedule with the official groundbreaking slated in early 2018. Construction is expected to take 18 months and once operational in December 2019, commuters will cross the 500-metre channel in about three minutes.”

Speaking during the signing ceremony, KFS managing director Bakari Gowa said construction will begin from March 2018.

“We will be done with the construction by the end of 2019 and begin full operations the following year. This is after sending our agreement to the Cabinet for approval,” said Mr Gowa.

He noted that a good number of investors had shown interest.

“We will take 60 per cent debt which will be covered by the global investors and 40 per cent by the shareholders. We are yet to conclude our process on the financial clause regarding the project,” he said.

The signed agreement indicates that once Trapos Ltd settles on the investor, the project will be handled by Likoni Cable Cars Express Ltd which will manage the project for 25 years.

The Likoni Cable Cars Express will have 22 cable cars which will carry 38 passengers per cabin. It will carry 11,000 commuters per hour in both directions.

It will have a capacity to transport more than 180,000 commuters per day.

“Commuters will cross the 500m channel in about three minutes. They will pay between Sh20 and Sh100 depending on the mode and the type of operation,” the MD said.

Currently, an estimated 300,000 people and 5,000 vehicles cross the Likoni sea channel daily.