DUBAI: Dubai transport chiefs are upgrading the city’s traditional wooden boats, known as ‘abras’ — one of the most widely known features of the city’s old quarters.
They will retain the traditional shape of the boat, but will include new features including GPS, cameras, and contactless payment systems, the Dubai Media Office said in a statement.
“The design of the new enhanced generation of traditional wooden abras caters to a string of security, safety and environmental standards,” said Mohammed Abu Baker Al-Hashemi, the Road and Transport Authority’s director of marine transport.
Al-Hashemi said the authority wanted to preserve the “traditional and historic nature of this type of transit,” but ensure they abide by the evolving standards in modern transportation.
The move is part of a wider push to modernize marine transport services in Dubai.
“Operating the new enhanced generation of traditional wooden abras is part of a master plan developed by RTA to overhaul Dubai’s marine transport systems which serve about 14 million riders per annum,” Al-Hashemi added.
RTA also plans to increase the number of marine transport stations to 59 by 2025 and produce 26 marine transport modes, the director said.