Given the growing demand from passengers, the govt will follow up on its request to Singapore’s ICA to increase the number of 31 trips per day to 36
pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
MALAYSIA will have discussions with Singapore next week on the possibilities of increasing the daily number of trips for the Tebrau Shuttle train service from Johor Baru (JB) to Woodlands.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke (picture) said given the growing demand from passengers, Malaysia will follow up on its request to Singapore’s Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) to increase the number of 31 trips per day to 36.
“Malaysia has submitted an application to the ICA on Nov 21, 2018, to increase the number of trips per day which was initially agreed by the latter,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
However, according to Loke, the ICA had then requested the additional trips to only be implemented by the end of this year subject to the completion of the Woodlands Train Checkpoint (WTCP) upgrade.
He was responding to a question from Wong Shu Qi (Pakatan Harapan Kluang) on the current status of the shuttle services and the outcome of the negotiations between both governments on the request to increase train frequency.
The Tebrau Shuttle train service, operated by Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd since July 2015, commutes with 14 trips daily from the JB central station to the WTCP. The alternative transport service for people from both countries is busy particularly during the morning peak hours on weekdays from 5.30am to 8.30am.
To meet the passengers’ demand, the number of shuttle trips was then increased gradually until the current number of services of 31 trips per day.
“It reflected positively as the number of passengers has also rose from 1,500 to 7,400 people in a day.
“The number of passengers using the Tebrau Shuttle services yearly rose from 433,093 in 2015 to 2.74 million passengers in 2018,” Loke said.
The minister also said the ICA had on Jan 5 this year informed of its plans to transfer several ICA staff at the WTCP to deal with congestion at the JB Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex on the Johor Causeway.
The move, according to Loke, will affect the number of frequencies of the Tebrau shuttle services.
“The ministry is in the process of negotiations with Singapore for a partial transfer of staff to CIQ at the Johor Causeway to ensure that the people’s dependence on the Tebrau Shuttle services is not affected.
“This will be discussed during the meeting next week,” he added.
On the Johor-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS Link) project, Loke said while the project is suspended, both countries are working together to lower the ticket fare to encourage commuters to use the RTS Link once it is completed.
On April 1 this year, Putrajaya had sought an additional six-month extension, its fifth request for more time following the lapse of the last extension on March 31, 2018.
The RM4 billion RTS Link project is set to cover 4km of rail linking Bukit Chagar, JB, and Woodlands, Singapore, with a capacity to ferry 10,000 passengers per hour.
“According to the agreement between both countries, the Tebrau Shuttle service will cease its operations upon the completion of the RTS Link,” Loke said in reply to a supplementary question by Wong who wanted to know the fate of the shuttle service once the RTS Link begins its operations.
Loke added that the government wants the project to be implemented with lower fares. Under the previous proposal, the fare would be RM15 from JB to Singapore and S$5 (RM15) from Singapore to JB.