RTS to finally take shape

JOHOR BARU: After over a decade, construction of the Rapid Transit System Link (RTS) will finally begin, allowing over 200,000 commuters to travel between Singapore and Johor Baru in a day once it is completed.

Upon its completion in Dec 2026, an estimated 150,000 people, half the number of people crossing the border daily, are expected to use the system daily, said Mass Rapid Transit Corporation (MRT Corp) chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Zarif Hashim.

“The RTS consists of four coaches. It can carry at least 250 people in one coach at one time – some 10,000 people an hour.

“Based on the number of people crossing the border previously, before its closure, we expect at least 150,000 people to use it daily.

“It will take only about five minutes to travel between Bukit Chagar station in Johor Baru and Woodlands North station in Singapore.

“The frequency of the train will be 3.6 to six minutes, depending on whether it is during peak hour, ” he said in an online press conference after the groundbreaking ceremony.

The RTS, he added, would operate from 6am to midnight, and the operational hours could be extended depending on need.

“We will ensure the ticket price is affordable, ” he said.

Malaysia’s portion of the cost for the RTS of RM3.7bil would include construction of a station at Bukit Chagar, a depot at Wadi Hana, viaducts through the Johor Baru city centre and over the Straits of Johor to the Malaysian-Singapore boundary, said Mohd Zarif.

“The cost also includes the construction of a four-storey Immigration, Customs and Quarantine Complex at Bukit Chagar.

“This facility will be part of a transit-oriented development, with a Multimodal Transport Hub and mixed property developments. There will also be duty-free shops at the complex.

“Forty per cent of the total construction cost will be allocated to bumiputra contractors, including Grade 1 to Grade 6 ones from Johor.”

He projected about 1,500 direct job opportunities to be created and at least 15,000 job opportunities as spillover effects of the project.

An RTS Link Station Facade Design Competition will be launched today, an idea mooted by Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar.

The groundbreaking ceremony for RTS project was held at the soon-to-be-built Bukit Chager Immigration, Customs and Quarantine (ICQ) site in Johor Baru town.

The ceremony was witnessed by Sultan Ibrahim, Crown Prince of Johor Major-General Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim, Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad and state secretary Datuk Azmi Rohani at Istana Bukit Serene via a Zoom conference.

Also witnessing the ceremony from Putrajaya was Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

Meanwhile, present at the ground-breaking ceremony at the site was Transport Ministry secretary-general Datuk Isham Ishak, who is also Malaysia Rapid Transit System (MRTS) Sdn Bhd chairman, MRT Corp chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Zarif Hashim and RTS Link project director Zulkifli Mohamed.

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