Eco-friendly abras at Dubai Marina soon

Tuesday May 17 2011

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is in talks with Emaar, the developer of the up-market locality, and both parties are expecting to reach an agreement in the next few days.

Revealing the details of the project in an exclusive interview with Khaleej Times, Dr Khaled Mohammed Al Zahed, Director of the Marine Department at the RTA`s Public Transport Agency, said: `We are working on a mega project to launch eco-friendly, noiseless abras across all waterfront developments in Dubai, including Downtown Dubai. Right now we are at closing stages of talks with Emaar to start the project at Dubai Marina and we hope to get the project going by the end of the first quarter,` said Al Zahed.

Hoping to make the project one of the primary tourist attractions apart from means of transport for residents, the RTA is planning to popularise the abras along the lines of the legendary 
Gondolas of Venice.

`Our plan is to make it like the famous Gondolas of Venice. It will be affordable, comfortable as well as eco-friendly,` claimed Al Zahed, adding that the boats for the initial phase are ready and some of which are on trial at Global Village.

The RTA started the trail with three abras last year and increased the number to five, which are currently plying in The Canal at the Global Village.

The technologically advanced abras run on a combination of electricity and CNG and have the modern safety features but maintain the charm of their traditional design.

However, he said the traditional abras on the Dubai Creek would not be replaced and would continue to run as they are, though the RTA is continuously working on enhancing the engines and safety features.

There are 149 traditional abras running on the creek and the authority is planning to introduce a dozen new abras in the initial phase at Dubai Marina.