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A fare of Dh2 is fixed for commuting between Al Fahidi and Old Deira Souq line across Dubai Creek. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Commuters and tourists can now cross Dubai Creek in a wooden abra for Dh2 with the Roads and Transport Authority starting formal operation of the new generation of traditional abras with enhanced features.

A ride on the traditional wooden abras in Dubai Creek for Dh1 was part of the daily commute between Bur Dubai and Deira and also tourism in Dubai for several decades.

Boasting of a design conforming to the highest security, safety and environmental standards, these new abra water taxis were launched in December 2020.

The debut of these new gen abras, which retain the traditional shape of abras, is part of RTA’s strategic plan to upgrade marine transport services to fit the needs of people.

What are the charges and timings?

A fare of Dh2 is fixed for commuting between Al Fahidi and Old Deira Souq line across Dubai Creek, RTA said on Sunday.

This is effective from 8am to 10:45pm from Saturday to Thursday. On Friday, the timing is from 10am to 11:45pm.

What has changed?

In the new abras, the driver sits a little away from the passengers sitting in the middle. The driver’s position now is on a raised seat as compared to the middle of the abra where the driver used to sit while steering the traditional abras.

“The design of the new enhanced generation of traditional wooden abras caters to a string of security, safety and environmental standards such as the relocation of the driver’s position to have a better view compared with the low-level location in the normal abras,” said Mohammed Abu Baker Al Hashmi, director of Marine Transport, Public Transport Agency, RTA.

Wheel chairs, life jackets

The new abras conform to the stipulations of the Dubai Universal Design Code for People of Determination featured by two slots for wheelchairs, and places for life jackets. Moreover, they are fitted with smart transportation systems, GPS, cameras and nol payment systems.

The new enhanced generation of traditional wooden abras have engines linked with the remote monitoring system, and advanced on-board sound and lighting systems.

“The aim of introducing these new, enhanced generation of traditional wooden abras, is to improve the mobility between different parts on Dubai Creek, and increase the exposure to fascinating marine views, while maintaining the traditional and historic nature of this type of transit means, said Al Hashemi.

Production and capacity

Manufactured of African teak wood, the new abra measures 35 feet in length and 10.5 feet in width.

The abra, which can accommodate 20 passengers, is powered by a 78hp diesel engine compared to the 30hp diesel engine of the old abras,” said Al Hashmi.

Operating the new enhanced generation of traditional wooden abras is part of a master plan developed by RTA to overhaul Dubai’s marine transport systems which serve about 14 million riders per annum.

RTA plans to increase the number of marine transport stations to 59 stations by 2025 and manufacture 26 marine transport modes. It also plans to open new lines on Dubai Creek and the coastal strip along the Jumeirah beaches as well as new lines to serve the islands and the Dubai Water Canal.