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New abras launched in Dubai; have you seen them yet?

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They boast of enhanced security, safety and environmental standards.

A “new-generation” set of traditional wooden abras has been launched in Dubai. It replicates the design of the existing abras, while “conforming to the highest security, safety and environmental standards”, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said on Saturday.

Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), launched the new set of abras.

Abras are one of the most important and the oldest marine transport services in Dubai.

The new set is manufactured of the African teak wood; measures 35 feet in length and 10.5 feet in width; and has a draft of 5.5 feet. It can accommodate 20 passengers and is powered by a 78 hp diesel engine, compared to the 30-hp engine of the old ones.

Key changes

Among the key changes introduced is the relocation of the driver seat to have a better view compared with the low-level location of traditional ones.

The new abras conform to the stipulations of the Dubai Universal Design Code for People of Determination, and have designated spaces for two wheelchairs.

Life jackets are placed under the seats to make them more accessible to passengers when needed. They are fitted with smart transportation systems, GPS, cameras and nol payment systems. The engines in the enhanced versions are linked with the remote monitoring system.

The RTA has also improved the position of the engine by placing it in a closed chamber. The engine room is fitted with soundproofing and anti-vibration systems to reduce noise pollution. The boat is equipped with hydraulic steering to improve driving and manoeuvring.

Future plans

Al Tayer said: “Operating the new abra is part of a master plan developed by the RTA to overhaul Dubai’s marine transport systems, which are used by 14 million riders per annum.

“The RTA plans to increase the number of marine transport stations to 59 by 2025 and manufacture 26 marine transport modes. It also plans to open new lines on Dubai Creek and the coastal strip along the Jumeirah beaches as well as new lines to serve the new islands and others along the Dubai Water Canal.”

The marine transport sector is experiencing a “steady growth” in the number of modes, stations and passengers since the launch of the Dubai Water Canal that links Dubai Creek with the Arabian Gulf beaches.

“This sector is poised to see bigger growth upon the completion of the urban and tourist facilities on both sides of the canal and the building of more stations along it.

“Marine transport modes have the potential to become the ideal choice of many citizens, residents and tourists, who will enjoy picturesque sceneries of urban and tourist facilities on both banks of the canal and along the skyline of the Arabian Gulf shores,” Al Tayer added.