Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Creek 'water-buses' - a pleasant surprise

When I first read about the new 'water-buses' being planned for the Creek I was afraid they were going to be ultra-modern. That wouldn't have sat comfortably with the historic areas on the Creek banks and the origins of the area. There's so little of historic Dubai still to see and anything modern being introduced dilutes it even more. The lack of historic areas is partly due to the fact that there wasn't much of it anyway. It was a very small town even in relatively recent years, added to which is the fact that the building materials used were not long-lasting.

Just to digress for a moment to illustrate that point, here's a photo of Dubai taken in 1971. The photo is by Brett Langevad and I found it at www.pbase.com/bmcmorrow/dubai1971

I repeat, this is Dubai in 1971, just 36 years ago.

Anyway, back to the 'water-buses'. The RTA has now issued an illustration of the design and I must say I'm pleasantly surprised. The RTA website says the design "combines the traditional form of Abra which draws from the UAE heritage and between modernity and the latest advances in modern technology in this area" and the illustration tends to support that claim.

They'll be air-conditioned, seat about 35 passengers and they'll initially run in a loop with two stations either side of the Creek. They'll run every 10 minutes between 6am and midnight.

The stations are in key locations in the downtown area, so it looks as though it has a good chance of working well.

They say that there will be tunnels to link the abra and 'water-bus' stations to the Metro too, a very good plan.

Eventually, and it seems the service will be implemented over the next 15 years, the 'water-bus' will be extended to run along the Jumeirah coast and include the three Palm Islands and The World.

The RTA website is here.


secretdubai said...

I appreciate that they are keeping a traditional look, but what about the old abras? I would really miss them.

Also there is something really special about using the old, open abras, and feeling the breezes on the Creek cool you in hotter weather. I get a bit sick of endless A/C.

Seabee said...

Yes I agree, I hope the abras never disappear. They're saying they'll be kept and the investment in new jetties might be a good sign in that direction.

secretdubai said...

Great. I feel kind of guilty wanting them to stay - after I all I travel on them very rarely and for pure tourist pleasure, whereas the people that commute on them daily would probably love something much more modern and comfortable. At least if they keep a few "old-style" it would be nice.