Dubai plans major expansion of ferry services to connect expanding coastline

Transport chiefs say the network will nearly triple in total length, with many new routes planned

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Dubai's transport authority will embark on a major expansion of its ferry and marine services over the next nine years.

The Roads and Transport Authority said there would be 35 routes by 2030 – up from half a dozen today.

Overall length of the network will almost triple, increasing by 188 per cent to 158 kilometres.

"The marine sector is expected to expand considerably, with the completion of construction works in urban and tourist facilities on both sides of the Dubai Water Canal and other waterfront development projects," said Mattar Al Tayer, director general of RTA.

The first stage of the expansion will begin later this year and will include four new lines stretching 10km.

Ferries will take passengers between Deira night market, the existing station at Al Ghubaiba and the nearby Waterfront Market station.

The other three lines will link Dubai Creek with Dubai Festival City Station, Blue Water Station with the network at Dubai Marina and Heritage Village with Jaddaf Station and Dubai Festival City mall.

More services will follow in the coming years, officials said.

"Despite undergoing challenges, the ridership of marine transport means last year clocked 8.049 million riders," Mr Al Tayer said.

Alongside the catamaran-style ferries operated by P&O, the city also runs smaller "water taxis" that can be chartered for small groups.

The city's coastline is expanding, with a new island and cruise ship terminal at Dubai Harbour, an extension of the Marina, and the Deira Islands project, which is partly open already.

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