Image Credit: Supplied picture

Dubai: Dubai Ferry’s route number three will be introduced from October, connecting the cruise terminal at Port Rashid with Al Ghubaiba station in Bur Dubai.

This is the second ferry to connect with Al Ghubaiba station and will serve tourists as well as residents.

The new route is part of the Roads and Transport Authority’s (RTA) efforts to upgrade the marine transport services.

“We are trying to make marine transport more accessible to the public. The new route will cater to the growing demand for the service. This is part of an overhaul of the marine transport services which includes a recent modification in water bus routes as well,” said Eng. Eisa Abdur Rahman Al Dossary, CEO of RTA’s Public Transport Agency.

The upgrade also includes integrating marine transport with RTA’s central operation command centre or the OCC.

“The integration with OCC will further enhance the services and will make it more reliable and punctual. This will make boats run like the way our buses work now. They are completely monitored through GPS and other tracking systems and virtually controlled from the OCC,” added Al Dossary.

The integration means passengers will have real time information of the boats, the head way will improve and the punctuality will also be better.

“The captains will be directly connected to the command centre like the way bus drivers are, this system has worked wonders with the buses in improving the quality of the services and we hope it will do the same for the boats,” said Al Dossary.

According to RTA, the 100-seater ferries, which until now served on two routes — from Al Ghubaiba to Burj Al Arab and back, from Dubai Marina to Atlantis and back — have grown in popularity since their launch in March last year.

The service has seen a 55 per cent rise in ridership in the first half of this year over the same period last year, with the passenger numbers hitting close to 30,000.

The 32-metre-long boats, which can also be chartered for Dh2,700, has two seats for people with special needs and a separate enclosure for 14 gold class seats.

The sleek looking boats can travel at a maximum speed of 24 knots/hour and facilities on board like restrooms, kiosks for selling souvenirs and snacks as well four LCD screens to provide entertainment.

The route, like the existing ones, will cover a duration of one hour with fares ranging from Dh50 (silver ticket) to Dh75 (gold ticket). The tickets can be bought both through cash or credit card. Children between the age of 2 to 10 can have a 50 per cent discount.