Dubai: As many as 12 marine transport stations will be built at the Business Bay Canal and Dubai Water Canal, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has announced.
“Five of these stations are being built at the Dubai Water Canal project; which is currently under way, and the remaining seven stations will be built at the Business Bay Canal by 2018,” Mattar Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA, revealed.
Al Tayer said the total number of marine transport stations at the Dubai Creek, Business Bay Canal and the Dubai Water Canal will rise to 18 stations. “The marine transport sector will witness a quantum shift in the number and modes of transport, stations and riders with the completion of the link of the Business Bay Canal and the Dubai Water Canal with the Arabian Gulf. This will render marine transit modes the favourite mobility choice of citizens, residents, and visitors ferrying them in the backdrop of staggering urbanised and tourist facilities on the two shores of the Dubai Creek and the two water canals.”
Al Tayer said the marine transport sector is an integral part of the mass transit network in the emirate with an estimated 13 million riders per year.
“In view of the importance of this sector as a vital transit mode, the RTA has developed a master plan for upgrading marine transport systems in the emirate, including the operation of Dubai Creek lines, coastal line alongside the Jumeirah Beaches, new islands service lines, in addition to the Business Bay and Dubai Water Canal lines. Over the past few years, the RTA embarked on the operation of a number of electricity-powered traditional abras. These abras are deployed at some tourist destinations such as the Dubai Mall Lake, Global Village, Atlantis Hotel, and Al Mamzar Beach. It has also launched the Tourist Day package in Dubai, and the One-Day Ticket of the Water Bus at the Dubai Marina,” Al Tayer said.
The director-general said the RTA is expanding the manufacturing of traditional petrol-powered abras where the completion rate in the manufacturing of five traditional abras projects has exceeded 60 per cent.
“Over the past five years, the RTA has achieved several key projects such as retrofitting 149 abra engines, revamping abra dockyards and marinas, and launching the 36-seater water bus. The water bus extends 12 metres in length and 4 metres in width, weighs 7 tonnes and travels at a speed of 10-12 knots. It is fitted with twin diesel-powered engines of 185hp each, and manufactured to the highest world-class security and safety standards.
In May 2010, the RTA inaugurated the Water Taxi; the latest marine transport mode at that time, and deployed it on the Dubai Creek and shores as an additional express transit mode integrated with the rest of transport systems in the emirate.
“The water taxi is characterised by an aerodynamic design combining the traditional abra shape, and modernity reflected in the roof emulating the shape of the Dubai Metro stations. It has an air-conditioned interior in addition to comfortable seats simulating aircraft business class seats as they are fitted with remotely controlled LCD monitors at the rear of the front seat, 45 degrees reclining seats and a food tray,” Al Tayer said, adding that the water taxi can accommodate up to 11 passengers plus the driver.
“About 20 per cent of the water taxi’s seats have been allocated for those with special needs. These seats are foldable to provide ample space for the entry and exit of wheelchair users without any disruption, in addition to full stability on-board the cabin. The water taxi service is offered on demand through phone booking where the passenger(s) can wait at the boarding station agreed on and the alighting process can be at any location depending on the wish of the passenger at any of the water taxi stops. The water taxi can also be chartered for tourist purposes across Dubai Creek,” Al Tayer said.
On March 4, 2011, the marine sector saw a unique achievement at the regional level marking the launch of the Dubai Ferry, the latest and biggest marine transit means at the RTA as each ferry has a capacity to accommodate 100 riders. It is the third project envisaged in the RTA Strategic Plan to upgrade marine transit modes.
The Dubai Ferry is being used as an additional express marine transit means for serving new areas not covered by the marine transport network. The ferry is operated in a number of locations on the Dubai Creek, Al Mamzar Beach and coastal line along Jumeirah Beach, in addition to Dubai Marina and waterfronts projects.