Facilities on water taxis justify the fare, says RTA

Sophistication, luxury and style are the three words that would describe succinctly the newly launched water taxi service of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

By Shafaat Ahmed

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Published: Thu 22 Jul 2010, 12:04 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:52 PM

However, the question that comes to the mind immediately is whether there will be enough takers despite the luxury on offer, given the range of the fare.

With a minimum of Dh50 between two nearest stations and a maximum of Dh530 for a ride from Dubai Festival City to Jebel Ali, the fares seem to be beyond a common man’s reach and that’s exactly what is intended.

According to the acting CEO of Public Transport Agency of the RTA Mohammed Abu Baker Al Hashemi, the service, though could be used by anyone, is mainly targeted at tourists.

“Water taxi service is part of the RTA’s plan to popularise different modes of transport and attract more people to use public transport in Dubai. But through this, we mainly target tourists, who would like to see the city without being interrupted by the traffic,” said Al Hashemi, as he rode on the inaugural water taxi on Wednesday.

When contended that the fares are not suitable to attract common people, he said the fares are cheaper when compared to other cruise services.

“Look at the facilities on board. When you compare this to other cruising services, they won’t have these facilities but the fare would be higher than ours,” Al Hashemi added, as he enjoyed the facilities on offer like the LCD screens behind every seat, reclining leather seats etc.

He also added that these boats, with a capacity of 11 persons, are good for small groups and families to maintain their privacy while enjoying the cruise.

However, the service also offers sharing facility but for now, the fares could not be split between two groups.

“These fares are not per head, they are the same for the entire group. If two different groups want to share the same boat they can, but both will have to pay separately for the distance they travelled,” said the CEO of PTA, while explaining that the fare-sharing facility might be introduced later on.

Currently, there are two payment modes available — in cash and through credit card — and once the trial phase is over, the service would be integrated with other modes of transport, enabling people to use Nol cards for payments.

The service will be on trial for the first three to six months and things might change for the better depending on the feedback received from the customers.

As for those who think they will miss out due to the fare, they can take heart from the news that the much cheaper water bus service will be extended next year to more stations further in the creek and the coast.

In Numbers

Length: 10.8 metres

Width: 4.2 metres

Depth: 1.8 metres

Maximum speed: 35 knots

Capacity: 11 passengers + captain

Total boats: 5

Total stations: 18

Longest duration: 80 minutes

Minimum fare: Dh50

Maximum fare: Dh530

Hourly fare: Dh400

Timing: 10am to 10pm


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