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Tue 26 Feb 2008 04:28 PM

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Up to 500,000 to use Dubai water taxis

Transport authority unveils water taxi service in bid to reduce congestion on emirate's roads, official says.

Up to 500,000 commuters and tourists may be served by Dubai’s new 30 million-dirham ($8.1 million) water taxi service, chairman at the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said on Tuesday.

Mattar Al Tayer said the RTA was launching the service as part of a 1 billion-dirham strategic plan to develop marine transport systems and reduce congestion.

Initially ten water taxis will be introduced early next year on the Dubai Creek, followed later by operations along the emirate's coastal areas.

The plan also includes linking developer Nakheel’s manmade Palm islands and archipelago in the shape of a map of the world.

Al Tayer said specially designed stations will be constructed in these areas.

The vessels have a passenger capacity of 11 people, and can travel at 35 knots per hour, he said.

The boats will operate like a vehicle taxi service with phone bookings and private hire. Fares for the service have not yet been set, he added.

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