A new ferry service has been launched between Dubai and Sharjah to provide more options to commuters between the two emirates.
Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) operated the first ferry service, which runs between Al Ghubaiba Marine station in Dubai and Aquarium Marine station in Sharjah on Saturday.
The transit time between Al Ghubaiba and Aquarium stations will be about 35 minutes, and the service frequency is every 30 minutes during morning peak hours (from 5am to 9am) and evening peak hours (from 4pm to 8.30pm) from Saturday to Sunday.
The service interval will be 1.5 hours during off-peak times.
The first journey will depart from Dubai at 5.15am and the last journey will leave at 8pm.
From Sharjah, the first journey will be at 5am and the last one will depart at 7.30pm.
In total the ferry will operate 42 journeys (21 in each direction) everyday.
Tickets are priced at Dhs15 in silver class and Dhs25 in gold class, and the journey is free for people of determination and children below five.
Free wifi connection will be provided to users onboard.
Commuters are also offered free parking and access to an internal bus service at Sharjah Aquarium Marine station.
Mattar Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the RTA, said: “The two stations have been carefully selected for specific considerations. Al Ghubaiba is the key marine transit station in Dubai and is connected with Dubai Creek, Dubai Marina, and the Water Canal. It is also integrated with metro and bus stations and has a taxi service as well.
“Sharjah Aquarium Marine station was selected as it will reduce the transit time, has abundant parking space, and is shaping into a tourist and residential hotspot. So, the service is anticipated to attract all community segments.”
The new line has a capacity to serve 1.3 million users per year and is subject to increase if needed.
The move marks the first marine transit service operated between Dubai and any other emirate.
Sharjah’s RTA has provided all structures and logistics for operating the service including a marina for the ferry fitted with all required utilities. It has also constructed waiting lounges for males and females, toilettes, ticketing counter and a ticket-vending machine.
Salah bin Butti, advisor of Planning and Survey Department and vice chairman of Urban Planning Council in Sharjah, said: “The concerned parties in both emirates are making relentless efforts to ease the traffic congestion fueled by the upswing seen by the UAE driven by the massive growth in the number of vehicles and other complexities relating to the geographical location of both emirates and highways connecting the UAE.
“To encourage the use of marine transit service, Aquarium Marine station is being supported by Park-and-Ride facility for up to 300 vehicles for marine transit users.
“A shuttle bus service will be call at (Heart of Sharjah), passing by Corniche and Al Majaz, to connect with the marine station near Sharjah Aquarium. We also intend to expand the bus route to serve other parts of Sharjah city,” he added.
Dubai’s RTA has nine ferries operating at eight stations, including – Al Ghubaiba, Al Marina Mall, Al Jadaf, Water Canal, Sheikh Zayed Road, Waterfront, Marasi and Dubai Design District.
Safety standards include an “experienced crew, rescue and firefighting equipment and anti-maritime pollution facilities”, said Al Tayer.
Each ferry is fitted with five life-rafts, has a capacity to accommodate 125 riders, 110 life jackets, and six safety life-buoy. The cockpit is fitted with navigation tools such as marine radar, sea depth measuring instrument, electronic maps, and tracking devices.