New Dubai-Sharjah commuter ferry is launched
The Dh15 service connects Al Ghubaiba in Dubai to Aquarium Marine Station in Sharjah and runs from 5am
A new ferry service will connect Dubai and Sharjah in a move that transport chiefs hope will encourage commuters to leave their cars at home.
The vessels are to run 42 times per day between Al Ghubaiba on the Creek to Aquarium Marine Station in Sharjah.
The Roads and Transport Authority said the new service will have the capacity to serve 1.3 million passengers per year.
The move is the latest development to ease notoriously heavy traffic between Dubai and Sharjah. Last week a new road was opened to better connect Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Road with Emirates Road.
A journey costs Dh15 in silver class and Dh25 for gold class and takes about 35 minutes. Each ferry has capacity for about 125 passengers.
The vessels will depart every 30 minutes from 5am to 9am and from 4pm to 8.30pm from Saturday to Sunday. The service interval will be 90 minutes during off-peak times.
The first journey will depart from Dubai at 5.15am and the last will leave at 8pm. From Sharjah, the first journey will be at 5am and the last one will depart at 7.30pm.
Tickets are free for people with disabilities and children under the age of five. Free Wi-Fi will be provided for passengers.
The development marks a significant upgrade for Dubai's ferry services, which have consisted largely of pleasure trips between the Creek and Marina until now.
Al Ghubaiba – already the main dock for the Creek-to-Marina services – was chosen because of its proximity to the metro and taxi stands, said Mattar Al Tayer, director-general of the RTA.
"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," he said.
"So, the service is anticipated to attract all community segments."
Earlier this year, a global study by the transport analytics firm Inrix found the average Dubai commuter spent nine working days stuck in traffic last year. The emirate was ranked the most congested city in the Middle East, and motorists were brought to a halt for 80 hours on average in 2018.
A separate study by the GPS company TomTom found congestion has eased in recent years, despite continued population growth to almost three million residents and a large daily commuting workforce from Sharjah.
Salah bin Butti, vice chairman of the Urban Planning Council in Sharjah, said the use of shuttle buses would encourage commuters to use the ferry, while there is a park-and-ride for 300 vehicles by the terminal.
"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," he said.
"We also intend to expand the bus route to serve other parts of Sharjah city."
Yusuf Saleh Al Suwaiji, chairman of Sharjah's Roads and Transport Authority, urged people to try the service.
"Marine transport is a safe and convenient mobility mode that offers a great chance for viewing captivating urban facilities, stretching along the coastal line from Sharjah Aquarium up to Al Ghubaiba in Dubai," he said.
Updated: July 28, 2019 06:00 PM