Waterbus is yet to make a big splash

DUBAI — The ambitious waterbus service of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is still sailing in troubled waters with a majority of passengers, including the tourists, still opting for the traditional abras.

By Joy Sengupta

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Published: Sat 29 Sep 2007, 8:51 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 5:14 AM

While the waterbus operators and RTA customer service staff at the stations said that they were not getting many passengers, the officials claimed that though the situation was improving at a slow pace, much still needs to be done.

The officials felt a majority of people were still not aware of the facility.

The waterbus went on stream in the Dubai Creek on August 16 this year. The total cost of the project is Dh10 million. At present, the RTA is running two routes that are being served by two waterbuses each.

The authorities have announced that altogether there would be five waterbus routes, in addition to one exclusively for tourists. “We notice that not many people are interested in using these waterbuses. The conditions have improved a bit but a lot more needs to be done to increase the passenger traffic. What’s strange is that even the tourists prefer to use the traditional abras instead of the waterbus,” said an attendant of a waterbus who requested anonymity.

Not yet popular

“We find that the waterbuses are still not popular among the masses. People still come to ask to enquire about the service. There have been days when we find just four to five passengers. The waterbus service should be publicised through an extensive advertising campaign. We hope that the service gets more popular,” said another operator.

The customer service representatives also said that people had problems with the cost of tickets. “Most of them come to us to enquire about the price of the tickets and then back off,” they added.

Some of the tourists, however, feel that the traditional abra is a better choice. “The abras are open and seem more interesting. They attract me more because of their traditional make. Though the waterbus service is satisfactory, I still prefer the abras,” said Thomas Enquist, an Australian national who is on a visit to Dubai.

Engineer Essa Abdul Rehman Dosari, CEO of the Marine Agency of the RTA, recently said, “The current ‘occupancy’ rate of the waterbuses was 10 per cent and something needs to be done to encourage more people to use them for crossing the Creek,” he said.

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