Dubai: Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has scaled down its ambitious marine transport projects and has also shelved its public ferry service project, Gulf News has learnt.

"The RTA realised that some offshore marine development projects have been delayed for implementation due to global financial crisis. Our Marine Transport Master Plan links all transportation projects to the development of the large maritime projects by others," said Obaid Al Mulla, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the RTA's Marine Agency.

He explained that the implementation of the RTA's Strategic Plan has been revised to face the challenges of uncertainty in the on shore and off shore developments. "Our projects implementation schedules are very flexible and can be implemented as and when the requirements arise in future," Al Mulla added.

The RTA has also shelved the Dubai Ferry Project, which had been planned to link on and off-shore development.

"The project has been shelved for the time being because of delays in the development of projects such as Dubai Lagoon, Business Bay, The World, Palm Deira and others," said a senior official.

Some 10 ferries with a capacity of about 100 passengers per piece have already been manufactured.

The service was scheduled to be launched later this year as part of the integrated public transport mode but the project has been delayed for indefinite period due to revised strategic plan.

"This is the first phase of the service and more water taxis will be launched in the second phase but only if there is demand for the service," explained an RTA official. It is the first of its kind water transport service in the region.

The water taxi project serves as a new tourist attraction as well as means of alternative transportation. The starting point of the water taxi is Festival City in Dubai Creek.

Water taxis

The water taxi service is an on call service and the customers can book it by calling the RTA's customer service number 8009090. The water taxi can reach a speed of 35 knots per hour. Apart from the Dubai Creek stations like Deira Old Souk, Creek Park, Al Boom Tourist Village, water taxi will also serve some key tourist areas including Dubai Marina Mall, Atlantis on Palm Jumeirah, Jumeirah Beach Park, Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Dubai Festival City.