Kenya is floating a new screaming yellow and orange, Water Bus to ply on Lake Victoria waters, ahead of the anticipated MV Mwanza of Tanzania.
Traders, tourists and general commuters have started enjoying the services of the Water Taxi Ferry in the Lake Victoria basin, according to the Kenya News Agency.
The Marine Bus is currently plying around the Kisumu Pier, onto Kendu Bay then Homabay and all the way to Kagwa beach.
The bus journey seems to be restricted within the Kenya water precincts only. It also doubles as a tourist cruiser.
Once operational the giant MV Mwanza of Tanzania will make port in all the three countries of East Africa, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
The renewed water taxi transportation has greatly boosted passenger operations to the lakeside city of Kisumu after a long break lasting over a decade.
Farida Salim, Kisumu County Executive Committee Member of Trade, Tourism, Industry and Marketing said they have partnered with the Waterbus group on lake tourism to promote leisure activities alongside its mass transportation program.
Salim said the initiative will open up the huge trade potential which is yet to be fully exploited by member countries in the East Africa Community region.
She added that the reintroduction of the Waterbus Lake transport could not have come at a better time as partner states continue addressing challenges frustrating the movement of goods and services across the common borders.
Philip Otieno, a merchandise trader hailed the new water transport which has enabled him to do brisk business between the two destinations in a short period compared to the past.
“I’m happy that my business is now booming and I am able to get new clients thus expanding my network,” Otieno said soon after disembarking from the waterbus at Kendu.
Jane Okidi expressed satisfaction after discovering new aesthetic beaches and sceneries during the trip.
By promising to offer lots of fun galore, the leisure Water Tours Cruise has unveiled exciting Easter holidays offers to give families treats and it will be blended with the Kisumu County Fish Fiesta 2023.
“The package is inclusive of entertainment by live bands, lunch at the waterfront resort, snacks and refreshments as well as Return cruise,” the Water Bus Management posted on their website.
The water bus is a RoPax ferry that combines the features of a cruise ship and night cabins combined with roll-on/roll-off and passenger design.
Stakeholders have expressed their joy pointing out that it will promote brisk business and open new opportunities to various fishermen dotting the shores of Lake Victoria.
Those interviewed by KNA said the noble move has reignited fervent hopes among the fisher folks who exuded confidence that their catch will be transported safely and fast to the respective markets in a few hours and maximize their profits.
The one-and-a-half-hour journey which begins from Kisumu Pier near the former Lwang’ni beach to Kendu Bay begins at 6.30 AM with a paltry Kenya Shillings. 250/- transport charged on passengers.
Following its successful relaunch on 26 February 2023 the water bus has been able to conduct guided educational trips for learners from several institutions and they have also offered free rides to 1,000 commuter passengers.
“We do school tours within the Winam Gulf in Kisumu between 10 am -2pm,” one of the water bus management officers explained.
The only insured operator in Lake Victoria, the water bus boasts of a unified crew, CCTV cameras on the vessel, free phone charging ports for the passengers and clean lavatories.
The water bus CEO Fredrick Neser and Business Development Manager Annie Ng’ang’a have assured the residents that they will continuously strive to offer safe, reliable, fully compliant and professional ferry service on Lake Victoria.