Monday, May 18, 2009

Floating garden sheds are white elephants

It's confirmed, we don't like the floating garden sheds which pass as water buses.

Figures show that the ten water buses, built to carry 36 passengers each, carried about 191,000 passengers in 42,730 trips during the first four months of this year. So each trip carries less than five passengers.

The fare is obviously one of the problems, at Dh4 compared to the Dh1 abra trip across the Creek. The RTA has changed the original Dh4 each way fare to Dh4 return, but it's still not working.

I think people were too polite to say that they really don't use the things because they're so ugly.

Even tourists don't like them. A friend reports that her tour agency "used to give the option to tourists to take the airconditioned 'comfortable' bus, but 95% of their customers said that they want to use the more authentic, noisy and open-to-the-elements Abra."

I always take friends from Oz across the Creek on the abra and all have said afterwards that it was the most memorable part of their time in Dubai.

Back to the drawing board...

Gulf News report is here.

*A white elephant is a valuable possession of which its owner cannot dispose and whose cost (particularly cost of upkeep) is out of proportion to its usefulness.


Grumpy Goat said...

A shed-driver offered to take Beloved Wife and I up to Festival City from the Naif Souq for Dh4, which I though was marvellous value.

Until I asked how he was planning to get past the Floating Bridge, at which point he admitted that the Dh4 trip was in factnot to Festival City, but actually all the way to Bur Dubai.

"I cast of from Deira
(That's just up the creek).
Set sail for the ocean
Adventure to seek.
To those I was leaving
I said my goodbye,
Only it was an abra,
Bound for Bur Dubai.

And it's no, nay, never..." etc

Moadh said...

hahaha i can't help but agree!

It might also have been due to the fact that the ad campaign for the water taxi read "riding the creek is now A fun"

Media Junkie said...

even if its blazing hot, the abra isn't isnt hot. and better value for money. and authentic.

samuraisam said...

A friend of mine says that they won't let him take his bicycle on the 'garden sheds', however they will let him take it on the old abras. So much for the RTA and their talk about 'alternatives'

Peripatetic Engineer said...

We used to take the old abras back in the late 70's. They would pull in to the bank almost anywhere and load up. When we got on an abra, the driver would kick all other non-westerners off the boat and give us a VIP ride. Now they are penned into a few designated pick up points. You have to wait in line. It takes most of the fun out of an abra ride across the creek.

Photos Dubai said...

I couldn't agree more. The new 'water buses' are an eye sore.

The only way the RTA will get passengers into the Water buses is by stopping people from getting into the abras. So here are some possibilities. The abra fares goes up to AED 3-4 or the abras are moved out and forced to ply from some point out in the sea.

Given past experiences, I will not be surprised if this happens only to satisfy someone's egos.

I have covered Abras several times on my blog. There are an integral part of Dubai. They ARE Dubai.

alexander... said...

Agree! It's an abra for me every day - I'd never go in the garden sheds.

Tarmac Hatta, replace the water taxis with sheds... all of the things that made tourism here interesting and FUN are being eroded in the name of 'progress'...