Dubai-Sharjah: Arrive in just one hour and 15 minutes from Sharjah to Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai, during peak traffic hours, using public transport services. No, this is not a figment of our imagination, but a reality that the new Dubai-Sharjah ferry service has made possible.
Falah and I were assigned the task of travelling back and forth using public transport, along with the new water channel service. So, off we went on the adventure (watch the video).
I took the morning ferry from Sharjah to Dubai, while Falah took the evening trip from Dubai to Sharjah.
I reached Sharjah’s Aquarium Marine Station in the Al Khan area just after 8am and had to wait for the next ferry. During peak hours, a ferry leaves the Sharjah station every 30 minutes, it was quite warm but that wasn’t a problem! There are air-conditioned waiting areas that face the dock, and the view is great.
I didn’t have to purchase a ticket, because the ferry accepts Nol cards. If you have a balance of Dh15, you are good to go. A one-way ticket costs Dh15 in Silver Class and Dh25 in Gold Class.
The ferry leaves on the dot, so be early. At 8:30am, we departed. There are no stops, and when I looked out, it was just water on one side and the Al Khan skyline through the summer haze, on the other.
A co-passenger, Saniya Rehman, an accountant in Dubai told me it was her second day taking the ferry. Now 24, she has been commuting between the two emirates since she was five, her school was in Dubai. She said: “It is pretty hassle free, you can avoid the traffic. I am using the ferry to get to work.”
In a comfortable journey that lasted just 35 minutes, I reached Al Ghubaiba Marine Station in Dubai, which is close to the Shindagha area.
Just minutes away...
The Metro station was just four minutes away. I took the Dubai Metro to Business Bay and I walked to the Gulf News headquarters located nearby. My entire journey had lasted 75 minutes, and there were no traffic jams or stress to deal with.
According to Google Maps’ estimate, a car journey from Sharjah around the same time would have taken at least 20 minutes more. And this was way more scenic.
The entire trip cost me just Dh23 on my Nol card. Over to Falah ....
Dubai to Sharjah
As someone who commutes every morning, for work, from Sharjah to Dubai and vice versa in the evenings, the idea of skipping all the traffic and sitting back to enjoy a 35-minute-long, hassle-free trip was just a dream.
Naturally, when the news of the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) launching a daily ferry service between Al Ghubaiba Marine Station in Dubai and Aquarium Marine Station in Sharjah broke, I was delighted.
So last evening, I took the ferry to Sharjah after work. As someone who has not taken the Dubai Water Taxi or a ferry of a similar kind before, the process was fairly simple to my surprise.
A Customer Service office was conveniently located right next to the station, and I purchased a Silver Class Dh15 ticket for a ferry that was supposed to depart at 6:15pm.
For those, like me, who find themselves looking for a snack when they get off of work, a number of cafeterias and tea shops are also located at the station, making the wait easier.
Ahead of schedule
The ferry arrived a few minutes earlier than schedule and departed exactly on time. Hopping on the boat, getting a feel of the cold air from inside the fully air-conditioned ferry, was a relief in mid-summer Dubai.
Inside the Silver Class, the ferry is lined with comfortable seats and wide windows overlooking the water.
Screens with maps getting constantly updated with the journey’s progress are also placed for passengers to keep track of the route that should take 35 minutes, according to RTA.
The ferry also includes separate restrooms for men, women and people of determination.
Located right behind the captain’s room, the section with the Gold Class seating is slightly smaller than the Silver Class and the seats are bigger. The Gold Class tickets are priced at Dh25.
The facilities are many
One thing that made the journey more enjoyable was that I was allowed to walk onto the deck of the ferry. I spotted landmarks as we sailed smoothly from Bur Dubai towards Sharjah. In the beginning of the journey, towards the left, Al Fahidi Historical District could be seen. Soon after, I could identify the iconic Hyatt Regency Dubai on the right, followed by the Deira Waterfront Market. (You must watch the video!)
We had sailed through the Deira Creek, towards Dubai’s Al Mamzar area and eventually to Sharjah’s Al Khan, where the Aquarium Marine Station is located.
Without the need to constant breaking and not knowing how bad the traffic is going to be, I had arrived in Sharjah in exactly 35 minutes. It usually takes me close to an hour to get home.
I’m going to take it, as often as possible. Are you? Share your experience at firstname.lastname@example.org