Members of Parliament from Kalangala District have called on the government to provide night routes for ferries plying islands via the Luku- Bukakata, Masaka route in order to provide extra travel time for people to boost the island’s growing economy.
According to the Bujumba County Member of Parliament (MP), Julius Opondo said residents require at least two after 10 pm trips to cater for travelers left by the 6 pm ferry.
Mr. Opondo suggested that a one-day starter route may be scheduled for 2 am business trips.
“The point of development where Kalangala has reached especially with the Oil Palm project requires proper means of transport to boost businesses on the island.”
Opondo observed on Monday as many other area legislators inspected works on MV Pearl at Portbell in Kampala where it has been undergoing routine repairs.
Ms. Hallen Nakimuli a woman member of parliament urged the government to regulate fuel prices.
“We have talked to the ferry operators and they have sighted high fuel prices as one of the would-be deterrents for the night operations yet people are asking for this route to operate 24 hours to enable them to transact business at all hours,” she added.
If ferries are allowed to operate 24 hours, will gratify for emergencies especially referrals to Masaka Regional Referral Hospital.
Kyamuswa County Moses Kabuusu also added that business activities that require transport on the islands are brought to a stop when the ferries park at 6 pm yet they want to open the night economy.
MV Pearl Captain Geoffrey Ayesigye said both vessels plying the Luku – Bukakata route is fitted with all the navigation systems required for them to move 24 hours, including throughout the night.
“The population has increased. Traffic is increasing day by day as people are demanding more trips which are now up to the government to allow the extra night trips,”he said.
Ayesigye also assured that MV Pearl which was docked at Port bell for routine tri-year maintenance will resume operations this week.
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The ferry overhauled all the main engines and generators, it was taken to the floating dock to check for any damages on the bottom and water tanks.
According to the captain of the ferry, MV Pearl was repainted and now they’re carrying out the finishing touches.
By Thursday the ferry will be ready to return back for operations or latest Friday, said Mr. Ayesigye.