The head of state-backed transportation firm Mowasalat has said a new QR30 million (US$8.24 million) water transit service – linking Lusail, the airport, Banana Island and the West Bay/Pearl area – should launch by the end of next year.
That’s more than a year and a half later than when officials had initially hoped to bring the boats into service.
Speaking to Doha News, Mowasalat’s new CEO Khaled Nasser Al-Hail said on Monday that officials from his company met several shortlisted boatmakers late last month to discuss the Qatari firm’s project requirements.
He added that the company will soft launch the service with two 50-to-60-foot yachts, which would contain some 30 to 70 passenger seats. Additional boats would later be added to Karwa’s fleet as more residents move into homes in Lusail and the Pearl-Qatar, which currently offers a water shuttle service within Porto Arabia’s Marina.
While the prospect of bypassing traffic snarls around the airport may appeal to many Doha residents, Al-Hail said the new service is not intended to compete with the company’s ground-based transportation options.
“Water transit is not comparable to mass transit. The market (is) totally different,” he said.
He added that he wants to target “marine-oriented customers,” such as guests at Pearl-Qatar hotels and the soon-to-be-completed Banana Island Resort Village, as well as local residents who “want to do something different” when taking a recreational outing.
Al-Hail, who spoke to Doha News during a break at a public transportation conference today, did not have ridership or fare projections on hand. However, he said the cost of a ride would be “reasonable” and may be subsidized.
He added he does not expect to construct any large passenger terminals, as the boats will likely use existing marinas.
Separately, Mowasalat officials say they expect to take delivery next year of two amphibious buses – buoyant vehicles that drive on roads before descending a ramp and navigating lakes and harbors like a boat – that would take tourists on trips through the calm waters in West Bay and the Corniche.
Would you take a ride on a Karwa water taxi? Thoughts?