The Dubai MA-RTA is continually developing policies for service delivery that are anchored in the future. The goal of the policy is to raise the contribution of marine transportation services to the overall contribution of the transport sector to the GDP while increasing its capacity to serve the people of Dubai effectively.
One of the approaches MA-RTA has taken has been initiating services such as in marketing and awareness that attract more people to travel by sea.
Currently, you can be transported via water whether by an Abra (Traditional Indian dhow) or waterbus. The only difference between the two is how comfortable you will be and the amount you will be charged.
To move in the Abra there are only two routes you can take while the waterbus can take double that number of routes.
MA-RTA oversees the services you get by legislating and licensing.
Few studies if at all have been conducted to investigate the current conditions of these services but feedback from people who have used them is as promising as one could expect.
According to a user survey that was recently conducted, when people are choosing which means to travel by, whether bus or Abra, they consider the fare that they will pay. This is not surprising because people use the same criteria for other forms of transport. This could probably point to a need to reduce the bus fares.
The survey showed some people who traveled by the Abra expressing an interest in the bus if the fare was reduced. It further revealed that a reduction in fares would result in an increase in revenue because of the increasing numbers of passengers.
Another thing that could help the marine transport system fare better is instituting better systems of management and planning. It would help if people could reserve a seat on the bus from the comfort of their homes. But even if that is impractical, the system could involve the use of technology such as the GIS to manage the routes and make sure that the places where people are traveling to most could get a higher priority.
They could also apply the use of simple tools such as Google maps to make it easier for users to plan their journeys before time.
Furthermore, the waiting areas are wanting with very uncomfortable seats and few wash facilities. The toilets that are there are either not well kept in terms of cleanliness or they are so overused that always being dirty is an unavoidable consequence.
As though that was not trouble enough, the ports are not well connected by roads or rail so getting to them is a hassle. One has to walk fairly long distances depending on where they are coming from.
If these conditions are improved, it would increase the number of people willing to travel by sea. But, even with all those challenges, there are still a number of people who prefer to use these services. This should be an encouragement for people willing to invest in the improvement of the aforementioned services.