Dubai, the second largest emirate of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), will introduce high-speed power boats as water taxis by the end of 2008, local newspaper Gulf News reported on Wednesday.
"We are finalizing the project to introduce water taxis that a passenger will be able to book by phone just like a normal taxi," Khalid Al Zahid, a senior official with Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), was quoted as saying.
The RTA's Marine Agency has approached more than 30 companies specialized in boat design in Australia, Europe and Asia, in addition to major local companies, to select the best design for the water taxi, Zahid added.
The water taxi will run at a maximum speed of 30 knots (55.5 km per hour) and has a capacity to accommodate seven to ten passengers.
Once reserved over the phone, a passenger will have to wait for the water taxi at an agreed station for boarding.
The telephone number, fare, number of water taxis available and exact launch date will be announced soon. The service will begin with 10 water taxis, the report said.