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Private finance may fund Dubai coastal taxi project

Construction work on the shoreline taxi terminals could start as early as spring 2006.

Dubai Municipality is considering private finance to fund a massive coastal water taxi network that is being developed in a bid to alleviate chronic traffic congestion.

The project will involve the construction of several major terminals up and down the Dubai and Sharjah coastline — and it could later be extended to other emirates including Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah.

Construction of the new terminals could start as early as next spring, following completion of a seven month study that is being carried out by the Australian office of Maunsell.

CW has also learned that Dubai Municipality has already received approaches from Dubai Properties, which is part of Dubai Holdings, about extending the planned water taxi network to service the Business Bay development.

Khalid Mohammed Al Zahed, head of coastal management at Dubai Municipality, said: “We have commissioned a consultant to provide a full study and give us recommendations within seven months. In theory, we will then be able to go out to tender after that.

“The study will include looking at the best locations for
the stations, navigation issues, tariffs and the type of ferries
to be used.

“It will initially extend across Dubai and Sharjah, but may
be extended in the future to other emirates.”

According to insiders at Dubai Municipality, the aim is
to provide an integrated transport system that dovetails with the recently launched Dubai Metro project.

Private finance is also being considered as a means of funding the project, which could see a concessionaire build, own and operate the project for a set number of years.

Under one option that is being considered, passengers could use a swipe card on various modes of transport throughout the city, including the new Metro.

It is understood that between five and 15 taxi stations could be built during the first phase of the project.

The water taxi project is the latest attempt by the Dubai
authorities to tackle mounting traffic congestion in the emirate.

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