Singapore and Malaysia have accepted a Letter of Offer and taken a step closer to building the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link
Taking a step forward in building Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link (From left) Megat Khairulazhar Khairodin, Datuk Seri Mohd Zuki bin Ali, Mr Ngien Hoon Ping and Mr Colin Lim.PHOTO: LAND TRANSPORT AUTHORITY

SINGAPORE - Singapore and Malaysia are a step closer to a cross-border MRT line between Woodlands North station and Johor Baru, after a Letter of Offer was accepted by rail operators Prasarana Malaysia and SMRT.

The letter was jointly given by the Malaysian Prime Minister's Department and Singapore's Land Transport Authority (LTA), said the four parties in a statement on Friday (Feb 9).

It paves the way for the rail operators to form a joint venture to operate the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link (RTS Link).

The joint venture, to be formed before June 30 this year, will design, build and maintain the system (RTS Link)as well as renew the operating assets such as trains and tracks.

The two countries signed a legally-binding agreement to build the line at last month's meeting between their Prime Ministers in Singapore. The RTS Link is set to open by Dec 31, 2024, and construction is expected to begin next year.

Commuters can expect to hop on the train every eight minutes on average, and every four minutes during peak periods.

The train system can carry up to 10,000 passengers an hour in each direction. This means 60,000 extra commuters can cross the Causeway during peak hours.

Now, an average of 300 people travel in each direction an hour, using the daily shuttle train service between Woodlands and Johor Baru.

Prasarana and SMRT have also committed to sign the concession agreement for the cross-border MRT service by Sept 30 this year.

This first concession period will last for 30 years. Subsequent concessions will be awarded through open tender.

The joint venture company will pay a concession fee to Singapore and Malaysia, and collect fare revenue from the RTS Link in exchange.

Fares will be set by the joint venture and will not be regulated by the two governments.