A novel addition to the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi is a newly launched ferry named as “Jalboot” – the emirate’s only private scheduled passenger service which covers 100 kms of scenic waterway in and around the emirate.
The ferry has won a warm reception from residents and tourists alike with the operator already planning fleet and network expansion for early in the New Year. Currently running daily from 2 pm until 9.30 pm, the service, which calls at, and can be boarded from, four destinations – Abu Dhabi Mall, Yas Marina, Fairmont Bab Al Bahr and Etihad Towers with each leg taking less than an hour – is being taken up by residents as an alternative to road transport while visitors are using it to get a waterborne perspective of the capital and its surrounds and to reach individual tourist destinations with ease.
After a week of a soft trial using its flagship ‘Al Dana’ launch ferry, Jalboot Marine Network LLC (Jalboot), which operates the service on behalf of its parent company Emirates Consortium, said take-up and feedback has been “extremely positive.”
“We’ve had bookings and enquiries from individuals and groups and strong interest from DMCs and tour operators within the UAE,” said Chakib Bouayad, CEO, Emirates Consortium. “We have now embarked on expanding our reseller network and plan, in 2016, to add additional boats and stops to the service. It’s all looking very good indeed.”
Named to pay homage to the UAE’s traditional pearl-diving boats – the first boat is named Al Dana, to represent the most prized pearl – Jalboot ferries have been designed by an award-winning European boat builder. The launch ferry has been custom-made in the UAE to Jalboot specifications as will others due to join the fleet in 2016. The ferries accommodate up to 40 seated passengers and three crew members, are fully enclosed and air-conditioned and with windows for passengers to take in the views from their leather, business class-style seating.
Jalboot offers a range of ticket types for adults, children and families with group tickets also available. Tickets, priced from 40AED, can be bought at sales kiosks in Abu Dhabi Mall, Al Wahda Mall and Mushrif Mall. Private bookings are also available upon request.
In a move to prevent passengers having to queue, Jalboot offers the option to pay using a 24×7 call center, sales kiosks and mobile card payments by becoming the first SME in the GCC to implement the mobile Point of Sales system (mPOS) technology powered by Etisalat and NBAD.
“The ‘chip ‘n pin’ system is a secure and reliable means to buy tickets on the spot with cash or card while the tickets are printed on the sales receipt and also emailed to the passengers. The crew have on-board scanners to verify tickets whether printed or presented on a smartphone screen. Sales kiosks are also conveniently located in Abu Dhabi Mall, Al Wahda Mall and Mushrif Mall, and you can always call the round-the-clock call center” explained Thomas Rebollini, Head of Finance, Sales & Marketing, Jalboot Marine Network LLC.