Abra is a traditional boat made of wood, used to transport people across Dubai Creek in Dubai. 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.
Abra was the sole mean of transport between Deira and Bur Dubai, the two sides of Dubai Creek, long before Al Shindagha Tunnel was constructed for vehicular traffic. Although the creek can now be crossed through bus and taxis, Abra still remains the economical, and fastest, mode of transport to cross the creek, usually taking not more than 10 minutes for a journey between Deira and Bur Dubai.
Abra is regulated by the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA). There are about 149 Abras in service at present, operating from about 5:30am till about midnight. 10 abras run one of the three routes at all hours.
Abra charge 1 dirham per 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.
RTA has also introduced Water Bus which can be termed as a luxurious Abra. It is also working on a Water Taxi project.
Riding the Abra is must for anybody visiting Dubai.