Link will benefit Iskandar Malaysia

Businesses, including those in downtown Johor Baru, will see more visitors once the Rapid Transit System Link is up and running six years from now.

JOHOR BARU: The Rapid Transit System Link (RTS) connecting Johor Baru and Singapore will bring long-term benefit to the southern part of Johor.

Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) Johor branch deputy chairman Ku Hwa Seng said Malaysia and Singapore could look forward to better connectivity and accessibility with the project.

“Iskandar Malaysia economic growth corridor is going to benefit the most from the project due its close proximity with Singapore, ’’ he said when contacted here.

Ku said apart from the manufacturing, property and retail sectors, other economic segments, which would also benefit from the RTS, include hospitality, tourism, food and beverage, medical, entertainment and education.

He expected that demand for residential and commercial properties within a 5km radius from the Bukit Chagar station at the site of the project would be on an upward trend.

“The demand will go up gradually as the RTS project is slated to be up and running within the next six years, ’’ said Ku.

He said properties with a selling price between RM500 and RM600 per sq ft would benefit from the project, adding that it would reduce property overhang in Iskandar Malaysia.

Ku said the project linking Johor Baru and Singapore was also good for thousands of Malaysians and Singaporeans using the Causeway to commute daily between the two points.

He said the RTS project would take the pressure off the Causeway as traffic was heavy, especially during peak hours and public holidays.

“This has resulted in economic loss and opportunity cost as investors are deterred from investing in Iskandar Malaysia, ’’ said Ku.

Johor South SME adviser Teh Kee Sin said the RTS would be the main choice of future transportation between Johor Baru and Singapore and help to integrate other parts of Johor Baru district.

“It will significantly change the lifestyle and upgrade Johor Baru city status and attract many tourists and investors especially to Iskandar Malaysia, ’’ he said.

Teh said the reduction in travel time for thousands of locals who commute daily to work in Singapore would help to significantly improve their quality of life and more time could be spent with their family.

“Hopefully, the Covid-19 pandemic will be over soon and we can hop on the RTS trains, ’’ he said.

Teh added that the RTS project would also help to stimulate housing development as well as resolve the unsold high-rise apartments and condominiums especially in Iskandar Malaysia.

He said it was important to ensure minimal disruptions to the RTS service, especially during peak periods, weekends and public holidays.

“Frequency and punctuality of the trains have to be closely monitored in order to provide excellent and reliable public transport service to users, ’’ said Teh.

He said ample parking spaces for vehicles were needed to encourage the usage of the RTS service and a comprehensive feeder bus service would allow more people to have the opportunity to use the RTS service.

The groundbreaking ceremony of the RTS project at the site for the Bukit Chagar station took place on Nov 22 and the event was launched virtually by Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar from Istana Bukit Serene.

The RTS link connects Bukit Chagar in Johor Baru to Woodlands in Singapore, serving about 10,000 passengers per hour to help ease congestion on the Causeway.

The total cost of the project is estimated at RM10bil and passenger service is targeted to start about six years from now.

The Bukit Chagar station will feature a four-storey block, encompassing the train platform and customs, immigration and quarantine complex.

It will be part of a transit-oriented development with the adjoining JB Sentral and a mixed property project.

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