Timeframe: The launch of the Dubai-Sharjah ferry service

Suspended in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Dubai Ferry has returned

The RTA has been running Dubai Ferry services since 2011. Photo: Government of Dubai Media Office
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After a break that began during the Covid-19 pandemic, the ferry service between Sharjah and Dubai resumed this month.

The Dubai-Sharjah ferry service was launched by Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority in 2019, offering the route as a means to circumvent the infamous traffic snarl-ups between the two emirates. It aimed to serve up to 1.3 million passengers a year, reflecting the UAE's longstanding maritime traditions.

The trip, which takes 35 minutes, originally ran from Al Ghubaiba in Dubai to Sharjah Aquarium Marine Station every 30 minutes from 5am to 9am and from 4pm to 8.30pm on Saturdays and Sundays. The service interval was 90 minutes during off-peak times.

At the time, Mattar Al Tayer, director general of the RTA said Al Ghubaiba – already the main dock for the Creek-to-Marina services – was chosen because of its proximity to the metro and taxi stands.

"Sharjah Aquarium Marine Station was selected as it will reduce the transit time, has abundant parking space, and is shaping into a tourist and residential hot spot," he added. "The service is anticipated to attract all community segments."

Like many of the city's public transport services, Dubai Ferry was suspended in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Most services resumed within weeks with safety measures in place as part of the country's recovery strategy. The Dubai-Sharjah ferry service, however, would not recommence for three years.

The route was reinstated on August 4, connecting the Al Ghubaiba Marine Station in Dubai's Creek area with the Aquarium Marine Station in Sharjah. The Dubai-Sharjah ferry runs eight journeys from Monday to Thursday, and six from Friday to Sunday. Tickets for the route are Dh15 for Silver Class, and Dh25 for Gold Class. Air-conditioned pods are available to ticket-holders waiting for the ferry service.

The Dubai-Sharjah journey, however, is only one aspect of the Dubai Ferry. RTA has been running a ferry service since 2011. The ferry, which seats 98 people, offers a scenic way of navigating within the city. It has several stops, including Dubai Marina Mall, Bluewater Marine Transport Station, Al Ghubaiba, Dubai Canal Station, Souk Al Marfa, and Sharjah Aquarium. The ferry also had a terminal in Mamzar, which was shut down because of insufficient demand.

Tickets for the Dubai Ferry range from Dh5 to Dh75, depending on route and class. Family bundles for two adults and two children are also available, with silver tickets costing Dh140, and gold priced at Dh210. It is free of charge for people of determination and children under five.

There are also sightseeing trips from the Dubai Marina Mall Ferry Station, taking passengers by the Palm Jumeirah and Atlantis before heading back. For this route, children between two and 10 receive a 50 per cent discount, with those under two riding free of charge. Ferry schedules are available on the RTA website.

Updated: August 25, 2023, 6:01 PM