Woodlands North To Johor Bahru Train Project Postponed Till 31 Jul 2020

Singaporeans were bummed when we heard that plans to kickoff the Singapore to Kuala Lumpur high-speed rail were put on hold indefinitely.

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The last we heard on the project is – after a penalty waiver of RM500 million – was that it has been postponed till 2020.

As for the more achievable Rapid Transit System (RTS) link from Woodlands North MRT to Johor Bahru, both nations were still working out the details in 2019.

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This was until Minister Khaw Boon Wan posted a Facebook update on Saturday (2 May) stating that Singapore has granted a third and final extension to our neighbours to confirm the details of the project.

The new deadline has been extended to 31 July 2020, due to a change in Malaysia’s government & the ongoing Covid-19 health crisis.

If all goes well, here’s what we know so far about the upcoming train link between Woodlands North and Johor Bahru.

Woodlands North MRT directly links to Johor Bahru

The line will be dubbed, Rapid Transit System (RTS), acting as a direct link to Woodlands North MRT from Bukit Chagar Station in Johor Bahru.

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Both countries hope to ease Causeway congestion and curb the long lines at JB checkpoints, with this alternate transport option for commuters.

RTS could open as early as 2025

If the project gets a final go-ahead by Malaysia, the new line could be open as soon as 2025.

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A previous “operational date” was scheduled for Dec 2024, but that was assuming work began in 2019.

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RTS could help up to 10,000 commuters get to their destination per hour, and would cost an estimated S$1.3 billion (RM4 billion) to complete.

Woodlands North MRT will house Tokyo-style subway malls

Woodlands North MRT‘s upcoming interchange is also an anticipated part of the upgrade works.

At least 3 swanky shopping complexes that invoke Tokyo’s famous subway malls are in the works by JR East — a potential draw for Causeway trippers.

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The connection to Johor Bahru’s Rapid Transit Link should also be similarly linked to Woodlands North MRT for seamless commutes.

Proposed train fares are still up in the air

An original one-way fare of S$4.90 (RM15) was floated and deemed too expensive for the average commuter.

Since a Malaysian working in Singapore requires a 2-way commute, the price is indeed unsustainable on a regular budget..

Hopefully, fair pricing will be settled by the extension as well.

Crossing our fingers for Causeway commuters

With the closure of the Causeway and ban on travelling to be lifted in the future, we think both countries should plan ahead to solve congestion problems in the next 5-10 years.

That’s because more than 300,000 Malaysians use these “land links with Singapore” regularly, reports The Straits Times.

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Once the Covid-19 health crisis has been abated, we’re sure that frequent travellers who’ve been taking hours of jams valiantly in their stride for years would greatly appreciate the support.

As a result, we hope that Malaysia’s new government will consider this longer-term solution with utmost care.

Featured image adapted from Minister Khaw Boon Wan on Facebook & Wikipedia Commons.