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Tue 1 May 2007 02:02 PM

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Dubaians head up the creek without a paddle

RTA hopes to ease congestion by offering hi-tech water bus and ferry services on the creek.

Further details of Dubai's integrated public transport system were outlined today with the announcement of a preliminary plan for moving around the city by boat.

The Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) has created a Marine Transport Agency that will develop a series of initiatives for commuters or tourists wishing to travel the length or breadth of the creek.

Passengers will be able to choose from three main types of boat. The traditional putt-putt of the abra engines will remain. 149 of the boats will continue to ply their trade between the old town stations of Deira and Bur Dubai; with a capacity of 26 million passenger journeys per year.

But more modern vessels will compete with the ancient abras. A comfortable air-conditioned Water Bus service will be introduced in July that will see 12 metre catamarans with a capacity of 35 passengers and a top speed of 12 knots.

The waterbuses will operate between drop-off points at Old Deira Souk, Dubai Souk, Sabkha Station and Old Souk Station.

Over two million passengers are expected to use the service.

The largest vessels in the Marine Transport Authority fleet will operate within the Dubai Ferry Service. This service will offer 120 passengers the ability to travel at up to 24 knots in 30 metre long, air-conditioned catamarans.

The ferries will travel greater distances from the Gold Souk station to Bani Yas station, City Centre station and Ghubaiba. Almost 3 million passengers are expected per year when the service begins operation in August.

Both the Water Bus and Dubai Ferry catamarans will have the ability to slide back their roofs to give tourists glorious views of Dubai as they make their way up the creek.

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