(File pix) Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) Chief Executive Officer, Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah, said the project, which is scheduled to begin construction in 2019, would be able to reduce traffic congestion by up to 15 per cent once it begins operation by end-2024. Pix by Sairien Nafis

KUALA LUMPUR: The Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link (RTS Link), which connects Malaysia from Bukit Chagar station in Johor Baru and Woodlands North in Singapore, is expected to shorten the travel period between both countries to 30 minutes from more than one hour currently.

Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) Chief Executive Officer, Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah, said the project, which is scheduled to begin construction in 2019, would be able to reduce traffic congestion by up to 15 per cent once it begins operation by end-2024.

The RTS Link will have the capacity to carry up to 10,000 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd) or 72,000 passengers daily, which translates to an additional capacity of 60,000 users crossing the Causeway during peak hours as compared to the average of 300 pphpd currently.

“To facilitate passenger flow, it will have co-located Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) facilities in both Bukit Chagar and Woodlands North.

“Passengers travelling in either direction will clear both Malaysia and Singapore authorities at the point of departure, and need not go through immigration clearance again at the point of arrival,” he said during a media briefing on the project recently.

“This means that before departure, commuters from Malaysia to Singapore need to undergo customs and immigration clearance for both countries at the Bukit Chagar station only, and likewise for the journey home, clearance is made at the Woodlands North station,” he said.

On the possibility of combining the RTS project with the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project, Mohd Azharuddin said there was a possible plan to do so.

“Indeed, there’s a connection from the HSR route from Iskandar Puteri to the RTS in Bukit Chagar in the future, but at the moment, there’s still no plan on this,” he said.

On the Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd’s (KTMB) Tebrau Shuttle service which operates to Singapore currently, he said the operation would cease six months after the RTS Link passenger service begins.

For the RTS, each country will appoint an Infrastructure Company (InfraCo) to fund, build, own, maintain, and renew the civil infrastructure and stations within their respective territories.

Mohd Azharuddin said Malaysia’s InfraCo would be Prasarana Malaysia Bhd, while Singapore’s InfraCo would be the Land Transport Authority.

He said both governments would jointly appoint an operating company (OpCo) to own, design, build, finance, operate, maintain and renew the RTS Link’s operating assets such as trains, tracks and systems.

“The OpCo will pay a concession fee to the two countries in exchange for the right to collect fare revenue from operating the RTS Link. Fares will be set commercially by the OpCo, and will not be regulated by the two governments,” he said.

For the first concession period, which covers the first 30 years, Mohd Azharuddin said both governments had agreed that the OpCo would be a joint-venture between a Malaysian company and a Singaporean company. --Bernama

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