Dubai: A new marine station opened by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) at Port Rashid on Sunday will enable ferry and water taxi services between the cruise terminal and Al Ghubaiba station.

The third marine station in Dubai with ferry-handling capacity, the new facility at Port Rashid will exclusively cater to tourists. The two existing marine stations at Al Ghubaiba and Dubai Marina serve both tourists and residents.

The ferry and water taxi trips will be available only when ships call at the Port Rashid Cruise Terminal and the RTA will put up monthly schedules according to the scheduled visits by cruise ships. Four ferry trips are scheduled on each day of operation, while water taxis may be hired on call anytime.

“This is a tourist-only service and we are tying up with several tour operators to get more tourists use the facilities. The trips will be available whenever there is a ship at the cruise terminal; it will be a nice way for the visitors to see Dubai’s heritage and old areas,” said Hussain Khansahab, deputy director of marine transport at RTA’s Public Transport Agency.

A one-way silver-class trip on the route will cost Dh50, while a round trip will cost Dh75. A one-way trip in the gold class will entail Dh75 and a round trip will be available for Dh100.

The water taxi charges will vary according to the existing metered fare structure, but the boats can also be engaged on hourly basis for Dh400 per hour.

Dubai currently has 24 water taxi stations across the creek as well as coastal areas from Al Mamzar in the north to Jebel Ali in the south, while there are three ferry stations including the Port Rashid station.

The Al Ghubaibah and Dubai Marina ferry stations operate four scheduled round trips daily, while a commuter trip is also available between the two stations.

With marine transport being the oldest mode of transport, the RTA is currently focusing on expanding the reach of its marine transport network.

“We have plans to introduce more marine transport modes and expand the network further, one of our key interests is to ensure ferries reach passengers in various locations; currently we have a commuter route from Dubai Marina to Al Ghubaiba and, with the demand increasing, we will have more commuter trips,” Khansahab said.

He said the RTA is also planning to introduce a full-fledged water transport network in Dubai Marina to meet internal transport needs of residents.

“We are planning to have marine [transport] network in Dubai Marina, similar to what we have on Dubai Creek; we are currently in talks with the developer Emaar, once we get their approval we might introduce abras and waterbuses there,” he added.

Water transport services provided by the RTA include traditional abras besides waterbuses, water taxis and ferries, which were introduced last year.