Last Updated: Sun Oct 17, 2010 00:13 am (KSA) 21:13 pm (GMT)

Dubai launches water taxi

More than17 million used water transportation last year
More than17 million used water transportation last year

The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority announced launching the long-awaited water cab as part of a plan to solve traffic congestions as well as boost tourism in the Gulf's most vibrant city.

The government of Dubai assigned the Public Transports Agency (PTA), affiliated to the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), to run the new five-boat water taxi service which covers 18 of the emirate's busiest locations, to be increased in the second phase of the project.

The water taxi stations cover the harbors of Dubai's popular destinations. This includes Dubai Creek Park, Atlantis hotel, Jebel Ali Hotel and Spa, Dubai Festival City, and Dubai Marina.

Each boat of the new water taxi fleet takes up to 11 passengers and includes a seat for people with special needs. It is also equipped with airline business class seats and an LCD screen at the back of each seat.

The service works from 10 am till 10 pm and passengers can either take the regular trips or call free of charge to arrange a pick up from one the 18 stations, said Mattar al-Tayer, RTA chairman of and executive director.

"The service can also be booked for tourist trips," Tayer added in a statement.

The rates of water cab services vary according to the distance and type of the trip. Regular trips start at 50 dirhams ($ 10) for one stop and goes up to 570 ($150) dirhams for a trip between the first and last stations, Jebel Ali Hotel and Spa and Dubai Festival City. Tourist trips cost 400 dirhams ($109) per hour.

Increasing demand

The water taxi project, Tayer pointed out, aims at catering to the increasing demand on using waterways for transportation in order to reduce the pressure on Dubai's crowded streets and to offer tourists a luxurious way of touring the emirate.

"The new project also covers areas that have not previously included by other means of marine transportation," he added.

According to RTA statistics, the number of people who used water transportation in Dubai last year has exceeded 17 million. Ferries transfer more than 50,000 passengers daily while the water bus serves around 1,500.

"The water taxi saves a lot of time," said one the passengers. "It is also a pleasure to take it since it is very comfortable and luxurious."

(Translated from the Arabic by Sonia Farid)

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