By Shafaat Ahmed www.khaleejtimes.com
The first public transport ferry service is set to start from August, coinciding with the launch of the Metro Green Line, a senior RTA official told Khaleej Times.
The route for the service between Al Ghubaiba and Dubai Marina is expected to complement the Metro as it passes through areas not served by the trains but would be connecting with two major metro stations.
The much-anticipated route would facilitate the first non-tourist water transport service to be launched outside of the fabled Dubai Creek.
“We have a very good response to our water transport services — both public and tourist. That is the reason why we are spreading our network beyond the creek. This will provide another alternative between the congested Bur Dubai and the shores of Jumeirah and Marina,” said Dr Khalid Al Zahid, Director of the Marine Transport Department.
Currently, Dubai’s public transport on the waters includes water buses and abras that run only across the creek.
Apart from these, there are services like the 11-seater water taxi, launched last June, and the ferry services for tourists launched in March, that go beyond the creek. However, being the tourist services, the fares of both are beyond the reach of the general public. The water taxi fares range between Dh50 and Dh550, while the tourist ferry fares per hourly trip are Dh75 for Gold Class and Dh50 for Silver Class.
Two ferries currently serve on four fixed routes for tourists between 10am and 10pm, while two more would be added to the public route, which will have a different fare structure.
“The fare structure for the public ferries will be different from the tourist fares. These two are different services and fares for the latter would be compatible with other modes of public transport and within the range of common people,” said Al Zahid, without divulging the exact fares.
The 32-metre-long ferry, which can travel at a maximum speed of 24 knots/hour, accommodates 100 passengers with separate enclosures for 14 business class seats and 84 economy seats.
Standard facilities on board include two spaces for people with special needs, four LCD screens for entertainment, restrooms as well as kiosks selling souvenirs and snacks.
Apart from the fixed trips, the ferries can also be hired for chartered trips for Dh2,700 per hour.