2m passengers to use water buses annually
By Ashfaq Ahmed, Staff Reporter/GULF NEWS Published: August 05, 2007, 00:00
Dubai: A luxury water bus service to commute across Dubai Creek will start on August 16 as part of the first phase of the Roads and Transport Authority’s marine public transport project.
Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, has approved the decision to operate the water bus. The decision authorised the RTA to supervise the operation.
The air-conditioned water bus will have a capacity of 36 passengers and the fare will be Dh4 per trip per passenger.
“We will spend Dh1.5 billion to have an integrated water transport service as part of our marine transport strategic plan 2020,” said Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the RTA.
He said the 10 water buses will complement the existing traditional abra service on the creek.
Around two million passengers are expected to use the water bus service annually to commute in Dubai Creek, said a senior official.
The water buses will be operated on four routes serving five stations on both sides of the Dubai Creek.
It will operate from five stations including: Sabka and Baniyas on Deira side of the creek and Al Ghubaiba, Dubai Old Souk and Al Seef Street stations on Bur Dubai side.
The first route of the water bus linking Al Sabkha Station Deira with Al Ghubaiba Station in Dubai will start on August 16 whereas other three routes will be operational from September.
Eight out of 10 buses will be used for passengers to cross the creek while two water buses will be reserved for tourists. The water bus for tourists will be available from Al Seef Station every 30 minutes.
The operation will be seven days a week for 18 hours every day from 6am to 12 midnight with 15 minutes headway time between trips.
“The water transport is part of integrated public transport plan to curb traffic congestion on roads. It will serve the congested central business districts of Deira and Bur Dubai,” said Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the RTA.
Around two million passenger are expected to use the water bus service every year. “The number is expected to grow to six million in future with the introduction of more buses,” he said.
He said the RTA has tasked the operation and maintenance of the Water Bus to the Singaporean Penguin Company.
Al Tayer said the RTA is working on its marine transport strategic plan 2020 to serve the existing and upcoming on and off shore residential and commercial developments with modern water transport system.
“The RTA will spend Dh1.5 billion to launch 210 km water transport routes as part plan by the year 2020.”
According to the RTA’s studies, Dubai’s coastline has increased from 70 km to 360 km due to new off shore developments such as Palm Jumeirah, Palm Jebel Ali, The World, The Business Bay and the Dubai Water Front.
The studies project that around 62 million people are expected to use the public water transport by 2020.
“Marine strategic plan will be implemented in stages. The first stage is the water bus, the second stage is the ferry service within the creek, the third stage is the ferry service along the coast line linking all the new on and off shore developments and the final phase is to introduce a ferry service linking Dubai with other emirates especially Sharjah,” said Al Tayer.
Specifications: It will sail at a speed of 12 knots
Hull: Aluminium, catamaran low wash boat
Length: 12 metres
Width: 4.2 metres
Speed: 10-12 knots
Passenger capacity: 30-35
Ceiling: Moveable panoramic
Engines: Two diesel engines with 185 horse power each
Cost: Dh700,000 each
Fare: Dh4 per passenger one way
Fare for tourist bus: Dh25 roundtrip