By Andy Sambidge
First two boats for Dubai Creek service set for mid-year arrival from China, says RTA chief.
The first two vessels of the 10-strong Ferry Dubai fleet on order from China are due to be delivered to the emirate in the middle of 2009, transport chiefs have revealed.
Work on six of the boats, which will provide an air-conditioned service across Dubai Creek, has already started and manufacturing of the remaining four is due to begin soon.
The new marine mode of transport is part of Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) efforts to improve public transport in the emirate.
The project is expected to ferry around three million passengers in the initial year.
A delegation from Marine Agency at the RTA has recently completed a five-day visit to the factory where Ferry Dubai boats are being built in Guangzhou City, China.
Khalid Mohammed al-Zahed, director of Marine Projects Department at RTA Marine Agency, said: "The main objective of the visit was to visit Damen Factory to review work progress and audit the technical specifications and timeline of the first phase of Ferry Dubai Project."
Ferry Dubai will be a dual base (Catamaran Low Wash) vessel, with seating for 100 passengers (84 seats as economy class, 14 seats as business class and 2 seats for people with special needs).
The RTA will initially operate 10 ferries covering four key stations which include Gold Souk Station, Union Square Station, City Centre Station and Al-Ghubaiba Station.
Phase 2 will cover Dubai Creek extensions, following completion of the new bridges.
In subsequent phases there will be plans to extend the service to link with Dubai Maritime City, the emirate of Sharjah, The Palm islands, The World and The Waterfront.
Zahed added: "The Marine Agency delegation verified the completion rates achieved so far and matched them against the time frame set for manufacturing the Phase 1 of Ferry Dubai project.
"It was established that the manufacturing process was proceeding according to schedule with a slight progress in completion rates ahead of schedule."
What a brilliant idea, water taxis that can link the Dubai outlying regions. But did the RTA Marine Agency really need to go all the way to China to have these taxis manufactured. Considering Dubaiâ€™s maritime past, surely such a seafaring nation can build water taxis bringing manufacturing in-house and employment here, not to mention the pride it gives to its people. .or am I being naive because it has to be the biggest or tallest to have any credibility here? The Government needs to give more consideration to manufacturing industries and enticing big manufactures to the UAE with company tax relief. All successful countries have been built on manufacturing and Dubai will need to do the same before we end up with a lot of very tall luxurious but empty buildings.