By Anwar Ahmad www.khaleejtimes.com
To meet the growing demand for public transportation in Abu Dhabi, the Department of Transport has rolled out the ‘Water Transport Master Plan’ that will cover some 200 islands over the coming decades, ferrying over 60,000 people every day.
In addition to this number, another 7,000 tourists are anticipated to come to Abu Dhabi each day.
The launching date for the first ferry service from Abu Dhabi Island to other islands has not yet been decided.
Currently, there is no ferry service between Abu Dhabi city and other Islands. The Abu Dhabi-Lulu Island ferry services are under renovation.The ferry service between Jebel Al Dhanna and Delma Island in the Western Region launched in mid-March 2010, is operational offering six daily trips.
Saeed Al Hameli, General Manager, Public Bus Office, DoT said, the planning for the launch of the DoT’s new Water Transport Master Plan (WTMP) is underway and the modalities and number of routes and connectivity will be announced soon.
The new water transport is expected to ensure that transportation infrastructure in the emirate meets its growing requirements over the coming two decades. An emirate-wide feasibility study highlighted the water service demands to promote Abu Dhabi as a sustainable tourism and business hub. Water-borne transport is also extremely energy efficient and sustainable, thus it will support ‘Estidama’, the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) sustainability initiative.
Abu Dhabi has approximately 200 islands, and the emirate is engaged in developing many of these islands including Saadiyat, Yas and Delma Islands as cultural, tourist, business and community hubs.
As Abu Dhabi continues to grow and develop, transport infrastructure has become a key issue and one that affects people on a daily basis said Al Hameli. A significant aspect of Abu Dhabi’s growth has been the development of many of the emirate’s islands, which are now being developed as economic, cultural, social and tourism destinations.
The DoT is exploring options of utilising the sea as a resource for a water transport system, which can be integrated into the existing and future public transport network plans, Al Hameli said.The DoT has just completed a comprehensive water transport feasibility study in Abu Dhabi which includes the identification and assessment of all aspects required for a modern water transport system.
Firstly, a short term option for up to two years will encompass utilising existing facilities and potential new shuttle services while developing further facilities. The second or medium term option (two to 10 years) plans to extend lines and terminals to provide connectivity and amend services and frequencies accordingly.
The third stage will include the long term option. It will include further extension of lines and terminals and provide additional capacity according to demand.