The Dubai Ferry will begin operations with a tourist route from Al Seef, running two ferries between four specially designed stations on the creek.Two of the 10 ferries that would eventually run across the creeks and beaches of Dubai have been handed over to the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and are currently undergoing tests and trial for seaworthiness. The two 100-passenger capacity boats, which are docked at the Al Seef Station in Bur Dubai, are expected to begin operations in a few weeks time, once all the tests and trainings are successfully completed.“Right now we have received the deliveries of two ferries, which are undergoing various trials and tests under different conditions. Once we complete that and the training of the staff is over, we would be ready to start the first phase of operations,” said Khalid Al Zahed, Director of Marine Transport Department at RTA.
The skippers and maintenance and operation staff are currently being trained on various aspects of operations, including the handling of emergencies. “We want to make sure that we have every aspect of operations covered before we take people in. That is why we are doing mock drills for emergencies and putting the staff through strenuous training regime,” added Al Zahed, explaining the mechanisms of preparations.The Penguin Inc, which is currently operating Waterbuses and Watertaxis, is also responsible for the manufacturing and operations of ferries, and the RTA is awaiting their green signal following the trials to announce a date. However, Al Zahed assured that the launch is just around the corner.The launch would be done in different phases, with the first phase being launched exclusively for tourists from the Al Seef Station. The work on Al Seef Station is already completed with a separate booth for tickets as well as two large jetties designed to receive passengers for the massive futuristically-designed boats.
The 100-passenger boats have two wheelchair spaces with air-conditioned and luxurious interior settings.Initially, the tourist route will only operate from one station at Al Seef but later on would connect to the other three stations on the creek, once they are ready.The three stations are at different stages of development while dozens of other locations have also been earmarked for stations across the water bodies in Dubai.Though the fare hasn’t been finalised as yet Al Zahed affirmed that it won’t be as high as it is for water taxis.“This is going to be a public service and the fares are going to be accordingly. The water taxis provide an elite service and that is why the charges are high. But we have services like Abras and Waterbuses which are as low as Dh1 and 2. The ferry fairs would also be in an affordable range,” said Al Zahed.RTA will receive deliveries of the remaining eight ferries one by one and will have all by the end of this year.Once the service is in operation fully, the blue-white ferries would provide an additional mode of transport for commuters to shuttle around the city – Voanews