Dubai – Residents and tourists in Dubai can now take a breathtaking view of the Dubai Creek by riding a new tourist water bus.
The Marine Agency of the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority on Tuesday launched a new water bus service called the Tourist Line between Al Shindagha Station [near Heritage Village] and Al Seef Station.
“This is the first initiative taken by the Marine Agency to benefit tourists and residents who want to have a pleasurable trip in the Dubai Creek, which has been a lifeline of activities related to trade and culture,” said Mohammad Obaid Al Mulla, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Marine Agency at the RTA.
The RTA already launched four water bus lines last year for passengers to commute in the creek, but the response has been poor because people still prefer to take the abra [traditional water boat] to cross the creek as it is cheaper. Fare for the abra is Dh1 compared to Dh4 for the water bus.
Fare for the 45 minute round trip on the tourist line of the water bus is Dh25 per passenger.
“We expect the number of people using the air-conditioned water buses to increase in the future,” said Al Mulla. He said that six water buses are already operating in the creek while four more will be added next month.
“The aim of launching the new service is to attract more tourists to the creek and the heritage village, in addition to providing alternate modes of transport for people,” he said. The tourist line for the water bus will operate from 8am to 12 midnight daily and passengers can board the bus from Heritage Village. The bus can accommodate 36 passengers.
“We appreciate their cooperation since we have been requesting a water bus for tourists coming to the Heritage Village. I am sure it will attract more tourists from within the emirates and abroad,” said Anwar Al Hanai, Manager of the Heritage Village, which is managed by the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).
Khalid Al Zahed, Director for the Marine Projects Department said that service for tourists will be improved gradually with live commentary and entertainment service on board the water bus. He said more buses will be added to the service, based on the demand.
Fares: Service improvements
Fare for the water bus service is expected to be reduced to attract passengers, said an official.
“We are conducting various studies to improve the service and revising the fare for the water bus is also part of it,” said Ahmad Mohammad Al Hammadi, Director of Operations at the Marine Agency. Currently, a passenger has to pay Dh4 for a one way trip on the water bus.
He said that they did not want to compete with the abra service which is quite cheap and is frequently used by thousands of people every day. “Our aim is to attract a different class of people and tourists who want to commute in the creek with the luxury of air-conditioned water buses,” he added.
Also, he said the water bus service would be in high demand once the Dubai Metro project is operational next year as it will be integrated with the metro and bus stations.