The $2.45 billion Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) link project has completed the halfway mark on the Singapore side, and the project is on track to start operations by the end of 2026.
Brands and Business Magazine
The 4-km long Johor Bahru-Singapore RTS Link is an international cross-border rapid transit system that will connect Johor Bahru in Malaysia and Woodlands North in Singapore, crossing the Strait of Johor.
It includes two stations, with the Malaysian terminus at Bukit Chagar station and the Singaporean terminus at Woodlands North station, which also interchanges with Singapore’s Thomson-East Coast MRT line.
At the end of a visit to a construction site in Johor Bahru for one of the piers of a rail viaduct that will span the Strait of Johor on Thursday, Transport Ministers of Singapore and Malaysia, S Iswaran and Anthony Loke, told reporters that while 50 per cent of the works were completed on Singapore side, 36 per cent works of the project were completed in Malaysia.
Iswaran said that based on the progress that has been achieved on both sides, they expect the RTS to become operational for commencing passenger services by the end of 2026.
Ease Causeway congestion
Once ready, the distance between the two stations can be covered within five minutes. The shuttle service can serve up to 10,000 passengers per hour in each direction and help ease the congestion on the Causeway.
Construction on the Singapore side had hit the 45 per cent mark in March, and work on the foundations for the viaduct piers is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2024.
Iswaran said that he had a wide-ranging discussion with Loke, and that both sides affirmed their commitment to strengthening bilateral ties. They also discussed how to further enhance transport connectivity via sea and land initiatives, he added.
Before COVID-19 surfaced in 2020, nearly 300,000 people crossed the Causeway daily. Peak-hour traffic volumes through the Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints have since returned to pre-pandemic levels.
On the Singapore side, passengers will be able to transfer from the RTS Link to the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) via an underground link, without needing to exit the station.
RTS Operations – a joint venture formed in 2020 between Singapore rail operator SMRT and Malaysian public transport firm Prasarana – will run the cross-border rail service. Announced in 2010, the RTS Link project was initially targeted to be ready by 2018. A new starting date of end-2024 was later agreed in 2017.
It was then suspended in 2019 at the request of Malaysia, which wanted to review its scope, structure, and costs. The deadline to agree on new terms was extended four times.
The project officially resumed in July 2020, with several key changes made, including the use of a standalone light rail transit (LRT) system instead of the same trains and systems as the TEL.
Construction at Bukit Chagar began in November 2020, with Singapore breaking ground at the Woodlands North RTS Link station site in January 2021.