ISKANDAR: A cross-border MRT system which will connect Singapore and Johor Baru in Malaysia will begin passenger service by the end of December 2024, ministers from the two countries announced on Monday (Jul 31).
A bilateral agreement on the Singapore-Johor Baru Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link will be signed by December this year, the ministers said in a joint statement after the 13th meeting of the Malaysia-Singapore Joint Ministerial Committee for Iskandar Malaysia. The meeting was co-chaired by Singapore's Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan and Malaysia's Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan.
The RTS Link was first announced in 2010. Singapore has confirmed that its RTS terminus will be located at Woodlands North station, along the Thomson-East Coast MRT line, while Malaysia has chosen Bukit Chagar as its main terminal for the RTS.
The link will be connected via a high bridge.
The RTS Link will be able to carry up to 10,000 passengers in each direction every hour, said the statement. Once it begins passenger service, the existing KTMB Tebrau shuttle will cease operations.
At the meeting, both governments also agreed on the key commercial agreements for the RTS Link. Each will appoint an infrastructure company to fund, build, own, maintain and upgrade the civil infrastructure and stations within their own countries.
Both governments will also jointly appoint an operating company to design, build, finance, operate, maintain and renew the RTS Link operating assets like trains, tracks and systems, said the statement.
The operating company will be directly appointed for the first concession period, and joint ventures between Singapore and Malaysian entities are preferred to encourage bilateral cooperation, it added. Metro operators Prasarana and SMRT are currently exploring the formation of a joint venture company to be the RTS Link operating company.
In the meantime, more can be done to manage congestion at the Causeway, the statement said. To that end, the KTMB Tebrau shuttle has increased its initial 14 daily trips in 2016 to 26 daily trips as of June to cope with the demand. Both countries are also working to increase the number of train services.
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