Abras are small boats that zoom about the creek taking people from one side to the other. There are designated Abra stations and a person is in charge of allocating you to the next Abra to leave. You can also hire an Abra to take you on a private jaunt up the river, it’s very cheap and good fun. Just watching them maneuver and zoom about between the dhows is entertaining.
These passengers are on a large Abra, we saw one going along the creek to the Ferry Terminal near the fort then coming back to the Ferry Station down near the Happy Dubai Park, each time it was empty. It appeared to do that all day but at night there were two running and they seemed to be full each time. The ones like this have seats and parents are offered life jackets for their small children, not all parents saw any need for them. There was also a ticket involved unlike the smaller Abras where you just get on and the guy comes around and puts his hand out for your 1 dirham. If you give him more than that not a word is said he just takes your money and moves on to the next person. When he’s collected enough he returns with your change and again without a word drops it into your hand.
In the small Abras there is just a box like structure on the deck and everyone sits around it, 20 people per trip. No life jackets are visible and we even saw a woman with her child in a stroller casually taking a ride. The driver stands down in the engine bay.
Even though the Abras race about and there is a lot of traffic on the river it’s actually very relaxing travelling on them and far quicker than trying to get about on the roads. I love riding on them.