Ferry services to begin by next year

Continuing with its efforts to provide as many public transport options as possible, the RTA is planning to launch ferry services across the creek and along the beaches of Dubai by next year.

By (Shafaat Ahmed)

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Published: Thu 25 Nov 2010, 9:14 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:10 PM

As many as 10 ferries, each with a capacity to accommodate 100 passengers, would serve as an additional mode of water transport complementing the existing services of abras, water buses and water taxis.

The service, which was originally planned to be launched this year but had to be postponed indefinitely along with other projects thanks to the global economic downturn, would ferry people from across the city through 40 stations being planned along different beaches and the creek.

“Right now, we have public water transport services only on the creek, through abras and water buses. We have water taxis that go across the city, but it is something that could not be classified as public; it is an elite service. So we are now going with our original plan to start ferries that would serve the entire city,” Dr Khalid Mohammed Al Zahed, Director of Marine Projects Department at the RTA, told Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the Society of Engineers conference.

Around 40 locations have been earmarked to serve as stations for the big boats, besides the existing ones that serve water taxis, buses and abras.

“We have earmarked the locations and some stations are already in different stages of planning and would be hitting the floor soon,” Al Zahed added.

He indicated that the project, which was frozen until a few months ago, came back to life following a warm response to water taxis as well as positive results to the surveys.

“Though the water taxi is expensive and is a five-star service, we have had a very good response since it was launched three months ago. It shows that there is great scope of growth in water transport.”

With abras ferrying people across the creek of Dubai since time immemorial, water transport is the oldest mode of public transport in the city, but it is only recently that its potential as a mode of mass transit began to be explored.

According to UITP, the international association for public transport, Dubai’s marine transport system is the best in the world with a ridership of more then 20 million passengers annually.

With Dubai’s transport scene growing exponentially through the launch of the metro and other multi-pronged transport modes, it was an opportune time for the Gulf Engineering Forum to make its third visit to the city.

The biennial forum with the focus this year on ‘Intelligent Transport Systems’ will discuss the growth of transport and share ideas to develop it further in the region. The December 19-21 event will also host exhibitions featuring completed projects as well as future initiatives for the region.


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