Abra (boat)

Abra (boat)

:"For other uses, see Abra (disambiguation)."

Abra ( _ar. عبرة) is a traditional boat made of wood, used to transport people across Dubai Creek in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. A medium-sized single-engine craft with a capacity of about 20 passengers, it is driven by a single operator from a sort of cockpit stepped in the center of the hull. The short platform around the cockpit, sheltered by a canopy, is where the passengers are seated, all facing outwards 10 on each side. The speed of the engine may be varied, while the steering system is basic: often a wooden rudder connected to the cockpit's mechanism by means of ropes and pulleys.

Abras used to be the primary means of transportation between the two sides of the creek before cars could cross it via the several bridges or the Al Shindagha Tunnel. It is now mostly used by tourists, common folk and nostalgics. Yet it remains an essential and frequently-used part of Dubai transportation, ferrying 15 to 20 million passengers annually, and only growing in popularity. It takes under 10 minutes to cross between Deira and the other side of the creek, Bur Dubai. Minor collisions are to be expected as the abras jostle for space, so all passengers must be seated, especially near the crowded docking stations.

The abra service of today is regulated by the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority. The old boarding piers have been replaced with six official boarding stations and fitted with spacing gates for crowd control; these facilities were built and are maintained by the Dubai Municipality. There are about 149 Abras in service at present. All abras operate from about 5:30am till about midnight, while 10 abras run one of the three routes at all hours. The abras charge a nominal rate (2007) of 1 dirham per direct crossing per head, or 100 dirhams per hour for exclusive hire. "Rowing" abras are also available at 1 dirham per head or 30 dirhams per hour.

The fees and capacity are also regulated by the public transport authority, and the abra operators are issued permits by the RTA to grant them the license to operate within the law. The authorities are currently considering an increase in the traditionally accepted fare, and a switch to eco-friendlier CNG fuel or even solar energy.

Abras are a part of the traditional creekscape of Dubai, and are considered a part of the city's heritage. In January, as a part of the Dubai Shopping Festival, an abra race is run on the creek with a 6,000 dirham first prize.

Abras cross the creek round the clock (including between midnight and 5 am) and a trip on an abra is a must for every visitor to Dubai.

ee also

*Water taxi


* [http://www.gr8dubai.com/abra.htm Abras plying from midnight to 5 am]
* [http://rta.ae/dubai_marine.asp Official RTA page on Abras]
* [http://vgn.dm.gov.ae/DMEGOV/dm-trans-abra-transport Official Dubai Municipality page on Abras]
* [http://archive.gulfnews.com/indepth/trafficwatch/more_stories/10065659.html Gulfnews: Abras to become more eco-friendly]
* [http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/06/02/16/10019194.html Gulfnews: abra fares to go up soon, says official]

External links

* [http://www.andycarvin.com/archives/2005/06/dubai_creek_day.html Dubai Creek] - videos of Dubai's abra taxis

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