Abras in Dubai

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Abras in Dubai

Postby shawarma » 03 Dec 2007, 16:41

Abras - information on DubaiFAQs.com

Press Release from 19 July 2007 says the Abras are still popular :) ... then again, considering population growth in Dubai is about 10% per year, why did abra use only increase by less than 2% from 12.6 million trips to 12.8 million trips?

Over 12 million passengers use Abras during the first six months of 2007

According to the statistics of the Marine Transport Agency of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), the number of Abra users between the two banks of Dubai Creek during the period January to end of June 2007 has reached to 12,883,956 passengers transported in 648,191 trips.

Engineer Essa Abdurrahman Al Dosari CEO of the Marine Transport Agency of the RTA confirmed that the number of passengers used the motorized Abra had reached 12,871,495 commuters transported across 643,574 trips, from the beginning of January till the end of June this year, compared to 12,634,391 commuters transported across 631,719 trips during the same period in 2006, while the number of commuters used the rowing Abras, reached 12,461 passengers transported across the 6797 trips, from the beginning of January until the end of June 2007, compared to 3438 commuters transported across 2832 trips during the same period in 2006.

Al Dosari explained that the rowing Abras is considered a traditional means of marine transport the RTA is keen to activate and urge the public to use in the movement between the two banks of Dubai Creek or tourism, as kind of adhering to the legacy of our forefathers. As for the motorized Abra, it is considered one of the progress basics and keep abreast of the latest in the world of marine transport to service all the commuters across the banks of Dubai Creek, and provide all the amenities, in addition to the factors of quality and safety for the application of the RTA vision of the Safe and Smooth Transport for all.

He concluded by saying that the Marine Transport Agency is committed to provide all modes of marine transport dependent on the best solutions and global means available from the marine lines and boats of various kinds, as well as the operation and development of all marine transport systems, through the rowing and motorized Abras, not to mention what the Agency recently has achieved including the operation three Abras by compressed natural gas, and the launch of the Water Bus service, the brand new project, which the RTA hopes to be the best way for the movement of commuters between the two banks of Dubai Creek.
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An Abra driver's day

Postby shawarma » 04 Dec 2007, 12:17

A day in the life of an Abra Driver....

From the Khaleej Times 13 Oct 2007. Anybody want his salary 8O ?

Making sacrifices for the good of his family
By Joy Sengupta (A day in the life of...)

13 October 2007

DUBAI — It has been 12 years now that 45-year-old Fareed Alam has been moving up and down the Dubai Creek in the traditional abra. The insipid smell of the Creek water and the way the abras dart from one bank to another, slicing through the water, cast a spell on the man.

Hailing from Bangladesh, his love for the water has remained unchanged all these years. Carefully making the abra glide on the water, the expert driver ferries hundreds of people each day. Whatever he earns is just enough for him and his family back home. The man wants to continue with the same work. The waters have become simply irresistible for him.
Love for the job

“It was 12 years back that I landed in this place. I have seen the changes and transformation of Dubai. It can easily be called a meteoric rise for the emirate. It was just a struggle to earn a living for my family that made me come down,” he said.

Alam said that the sight of the abras sailing in the waters was enough for him to realise his objective.

“I knew I had to become an abra operator. Though I cannot explain this, I am in love with this profession. Though I have got chances, I did not feel like switching over to some other job. It’s a pleasure cutting through the water everyday taking the passengers from one end of the Creek to another. But I had to go through an intensive two-month training programme before I was given the licence. I respect my profession as it has given me bread and money for my family. And I have been able to bring one of brothers here as well,” added Alam.

Alam said that the abra was a very popular means of transport in the region. “There are so many new means of marine transport coming up. But the abra’s popularity cannot fade,” he pointed out.
A family man

Talk about his family and Alam gets nostalgic. “Living out of the homeland has got its own advantages as well as disadvantages. I miss my home back in my village. And I could never see my children’s grow. When you want to give a good living to your family, sacrifices have to be made. This is the biggest of sacrifices I have made,” he said.

Alam has two sons and a daughter. “Of course, they miss me a lot, too. Whenever I call up, they tell me to come back. I know they need me. But I cannot go because the responsibility of my family is on me. This place has given me a new house in my village. Every month, I send some money to my family. I want my kids to see the struggle I have undertaken and learn from it. Education is something which is so very important,” he opined.

Alam’s day starts at 8am. He rushes from his place of stay to take his abra to the station and wait for the passengers. “This is a routine which we must follow. Before that, I clean the abra so that the passengers don’t face any problem. Each day I make an average of 20 trips. An abra can carry a maximum of 20 people at a time. Every month, I get Dh700 as my salary,” he added.
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