FOR just two dirhams, you can have a new experience this 2019 by taking on Dubai’s newest water taxi that runs on solar power.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai recently held the test run of the first hybrid abra, a 20-seater boat co-powered by electric motor, with low carbon emissions in what is considered as a welcome addition to the its transport fleet.

The trail run of the hybrid abra will be conducted on the Al Seef-Al Ghubaiba line, one of the key marine transit lines linking four stations—Al Seef, Baniyas, Dubai Old Souq, and Al Ghubaiba.

The base fare will be two dirhams only between two stations.

The test run of the hybrid abra, which preserves the authentic design and features of the traditional abra, was led by Mattar Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the board of executive directors of RTA.

During a ride aboard the new abra, Al Tayer was briefed by Ahmad Hashim Bahrozyan, CEO of RTA’s Public Transport Agency, about the features of the new abra, which has a capacity for 20 riders. It is powered by a 20-kilowatt electric motor.

The hybrid abra is characterised by low carbon emissions, which are 87 percent lower than petrol-powered abras, according to RTA.

It reduces fuel consumption by 172 per cent and, therefore, saves about 134 per cent of fuel cost. Its operational and maintenance costs are 83 percent lower compared to any traditional abra and it reduces the noise level to a minimum.

The trial run of the hybrid abra supports the Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The RTA’s latest step is in line with the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030, Dubai Plan 2021, and the UAE Vision 2021.

“It is also compatible with RTA’s Master Plan for leveraging marine transport in Dubai which is used by 13 million riders per annum,” said Al Tayer.

“The Plan envisages the construction of 11 new marine transit stations in Dubai over the period of 2018-2020, thus raising the number to 58 marine transport stations in Dubai by 2020.

It also encompasses the manufacturing of 11 boats to bring the total number to 61 boats by 2020. New lines will be opened on Dubai Creek, Jumeirah Beach, new islands, and the Dubai Water Canal, as well as the ferry service between Dubai and Sharjah.” (JL/GulfNews)