RTA's marine transit service. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News & RTA

Dubai: The dream of travelling around Dubai on a boat will be a reality with the opening of Dubai Canal in the next few days.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) on Saturday announced the opening of nine marine stations, four at Business Bay and five along the Dubai Canal. With the Dubai Creek, Business Bay and Dubai Canal flowing into each other, putting the together areas of Bur Dubai, Deira, Oud Metha, Zabeel, Karama, Satwa and parts of Jumeirah and Al Safa to form island, opting for marine transport would be ideal to beat the traffic.

Ferries and water taxis as well as luxury yachts will be able to cruise from Deira, Bur Dubai and Dubai Marina all the way to Jumeirah and Bussiness Bay.

The new stations, part of the 42 marine stops across the city will open a day after the canal is officially opened.

To begin with, the Dubai Ferry will run three daily trips at 10am, 12 noon and 5.30pm, while the Water Taxi will extend its service along the canal from 10am to 10pm.

The marine stops on Dubai Canal are called Shaikh Zayed Road, Safa Park, Al Wasl, Jumeirah, Dubai Canal stations. The Business Bay stations are Dubai Design District, Al Wajeha Al Maeyah, Marasi and the Business Bay stations.

The 3.2-kilometre Dubai Creeks links with the Business Bay Canal and Dubai Canal flowing into Arabian Gulf, stretching for 27 kilometres.

Dubai Creek, which begins at Al Shindagha in Bur Dubai, originally spanned 14 kilometres, culminating at Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary.

Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of Board of Executive Directors of RTA said that the water taxi service will be available on demand from 10 am to 10 pm in all new stations.

“The Dubai Ferry will offer service at five stations, two at the Dubai Water Canal, and three at the Business Bay. There will be three newly scheduled two-way daily services for the Dubai Ferry from Al Jaddaf Station to the Dubai Canal station,” said Al Tayer.

The ferries will stop at Dubai Design District, Al Wajeha Al Maeyah, and Marasi stations in the Business Bay; and the Shaikh Zayed Road and the Dubai Canal stations in the Dubai Canal.

According to Al Tayer, the current line of the Dubai Ferry shuttling between Al Ghubaiba Station and Marina Mall Station will be modified to run via Dubai Canal Station.

“The Dubai Canal Station will link between Al Ghubaiba, Marina Mall, Business Bay and Al Jaddaf. Due attention has been given to the integration of other transit modes in order to provide a smooth and safe service for commuters,” said Al Tayer.

Two classes of fares have been announced for the ferry, the sliver class and the gold class.

For the silver class the fare for one station is Dh15, for two stations is Dh25, for three stations is Dh35, for four stations is Dh45 and Dh50 for the entire line.

On the gold class, the fare is Dh25 for one station, Dh35 for two stations, Dh50 for three stations, Dh60 for four stations and Dh75 for the entire line.

The fare for the water taxi will range from Dh55 to Dh205 depending on the distance travelled, while the cost of charting the water taxi for an hour will be Dh400.

“The marine transport sector is set to undergo a quantum shift in the number of transit modes, stations and riders with the operation of the new stations following the link between the Business Bay and the Arabian Gulf beaches via the Dubai Canal. The marine transit modes will be the ideal choice of considerable numbers of citizens, residents and tourists in moving around and enjoying the picturesque urban facilities along the Dubai Creek, Business Bay and the Dubai Canal,” said Al Tayer.

According to RTA, marine transit modes are expected to carry more than six million passengers annually around the canal and man-made islands off the coast in the next couple of years.

He added that the marine transport sector is an integral part of the mass transit network in Dubai with estimated ridership of 13 million riders year.

“In view of the importance of this sector as a vital transit mode, 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 Canal lines,” he added.

Dubai Ferry is a 100-passenger capacity, dual base structure, air-conditioned boat. It has 84 seating capacity in the silver class and 14 in the gold class. Two seats are dedicated for the people with special needs.

The ferry is equipped with four LCD monitors, three toilets and refreshment kiosk.

The diesel powered boat runs at a maximum speed of 24 knots, already serving Dubai Creek, Dubai Marina and Jumeirah.

The 11-seater water taxi service is available only on demand and can be booked via phone or smart app. The rider is picked at the mutually agreed station.