2m passengers to use water buses
By Ashfaq Ahmed, Staff Reporter/GULF NEWS Published: August 16, 2007, 23:12
Dubai: The first route of the water bus linking Al Sabkha Station in Deira with Al Gubaiba Station in Bur Dubai was launched on Thursday.
The water bus service is part of the Roads and Transport Authority’s (RTA) strategic plan to provide an alternative mode of water transport to commuters.
The service is also part of the first phase of the marine public transport project launched by the Marine Agency of the RTA, which has earmarked Dh1.5 billion to have integrated water transport services to implement its marine transport strategic plan 2020.
“More than two million passengers are expected to use water buses during the first year of its operation. The number is expected to grow to six million in the future with the introduction of more buses,” said Khalid Al Zayed, Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Marine Agency at the RTA.
He said the water bus will complement the existing traditional Abra service on the Dubai Creek. Around 20 million passengers use the Abra service every year.
The water bus will also be used by passengers to cross the creek. But unlike Abras, the water bus is air-conditioned and has comfortable seating with safety features. It can be used by people with special needs.
However, passengers using the Abra pay only Dh1 to cross the creek while they will have to pay Dh4 for the same journey but in the comfort of air-conditioning.
Initially, 10 water buses will operate on four routes serving five stations on both sides of the Dubai Creek.
It will be run from five stations including: Sabkha and Baniyas on the Deira side of the creek and Al Gubaiba, Dubai Old Souq and Al Seef Street stations on the Bur Dubai side.
The first route was launched yesterday whereas the three other 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.
They will operate seven days a week for 17 hours every day from 6am to 11pm with 10 minutes headway time between trips during morning peak hours from 7am to 9am and 15 minutes interval during off peak hours.
Al Zahed said: “The water transport is part of the integrated public transport plan to curb traffic congestion on roads. It will serve the congested central business districts of Deira and Bur Dubai.”
According to RTA studies, Dubai’s coastline has increased from 70km to 360km 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.