ABIDJAN (Reuters) – Commuters in Ivory Coast’s bustling business capital Abidjan are turning to waterways to flee worsening highway site visitors, with rising boat fleets providing quicker and cheaper journeys throughout the lagoon.
The federal government estimates that Abidjan residents spend about three hours a day in transit, typically on congested, poorly saved roads. Nearly each neighbourhood within the metropolis of 5 million is on the water, presenting a lovely various.
The federal government liberalized transport on the lagoon in 2016 to draw extra personal boat operators, and plans to construct a contemporary water station in every metropolis district, mentioned Aristide Gahie, director of planning at Abidjan’s city mobility authority.
“There’s actual motion underway on the lagoon and the state is working to have boats which can be safer for the inhabitants,” Gahie mentioned.
About 100,000 folks per day now journey by water in Abidjan, almost half in conventional boats. The state needs to see 300,000 travellers per day within the subsequent 5 years and to have 200 trendy boats in operation, in comparison with about 50 now, he mentioned.
To benefit from this potential market, the corporate Aqualines and its South African accomplice Nautique have introduced in bus boats that may carry greater than 200 seated passengers.
The journey from the Yopougon district to downtown prices 300 CFA francs ($0.52) and takes 10 minutes on one in all Aqualines’ boats, in comparison with an hour-long journey by highway that prices twice that. The boat station is crowded all day.
The corporate plans to extend its fleet to serve 100,000 passengers per day within the subsequent two to 5 years, in comparison with round 12,000 passengers now, mentioned Marie-Laure Ehui, advertising supervisor at Aqualines.
“Individuals should be reassured. We’re in Africa and in the case of water persons are reluctant. But when we assure them security and luxury, they may come,” she mentioned.
Christelle Ahui, a gross sales consultant at a neighborhood agency, used to get up between 4:00 and 5:00 am to be on time for work. Now she wakes up at 6:00 am and takes the water bus.
“With the boat it is quicker and also you keep away from the site visitors jams. I even have bronchial asthma and I can not stand the warmth. That is why I opted for the water bus,” Ahui mentioned, after shopping for her ticket at Yopougon station to go to the Treichville district.
($1 = 571.2100 CFA francs)
(Writing by Nellie Peyton; Modifying by Bate Felix, William Maclean)