Johor Bahru–Singapore Rapid Transit System

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Johor Bahru–Singapore
Rapid Transit System
MRT map SGJB.svg
TypeCross-border rapid transit
SystemMass Rapid Transit (Singapore)
StatusArchitectural and engineering consultancy studies
LocaleJohor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Woodlands, Singapore
TerminiBukit Chagar RTS station
Woodlands North MRT/RTS station
Planned openingDecember 2024; 6 years' time (2024-12)[1]
Singapore Land Transport Authority
Malaysia Prasarana
RTS Link (Prasarana SMRT JV)[3] [4]
30 years concession period
CharacterSingapore Elevated & Underground
Malaysia Elevated
Depot(s)Singapore Mandai
Malaysia Bukit Chagar
Rolling stock7 four-car trainsets
Kawasaki Heavy Industries & CSR Qingdao Sifang CT251
Line length4.2 km (2.6 mi)
Number of tracks2
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification750 V DC Third Rail
Operating speed80 km/h (50 mph)

The Johor Bahru–Singapore Rapid Transit System or Singapore–Johor Bahru Rapid Transit System (RTS Link) is a planned cross-border rapid transit system that would connect Woodlands, Singapore and Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia, crossing the Straits of Johor.[6]

The rapid transit system will have two stations, with the Singapore terminus located at Woodlands North MRT/RTS station and the Malaysia terminus located at Bukit Chagar RTS station. Both stations will have co-located Singaporean and Malaysian customs, immigration and quarantine facilities.[7]

When built, it will be the second rail link between the two countries after KTM Intercity's Tebrau Shuttle, and the first high-capacity international metro system to be built.[8]


The idea of a Mass Rapid Transit between Singapore and Johor Bahru was first suggested in 1991 when then Singapore Minister for Communications Mah Bow Tan said that the Woodlands MRT line, now part of the North South MRT line, would be designed to accommodate such an extension. The idea was endorsed and agreed to in principle by both countries.[9]

The rapid transit system was then revisited two decades later and proposed during the Singapore-Malaysia Leaders' Retreat on 24 May 2010. The RTS would link Tanjung Puteri, Johor Bahru and Singapore, aiming to ease traffic congestion on the Johor–Singapore Causeway and enhance connectivity between the two countries. It was targeted to be operational by 2018.[10][11]

In June 2011, Singapore informed Malaysia that the rail link will be a northern extension of Thomson-East Coast Line Stage 1, which will start at Woodlands North MRT/RTS station.[12]

A tender was called in November 2011 to conduct design and engineering study on the RTS link, which aimed to determine the technical parameters and options for the alignment and proposals for the system. A consortium of Aecom Perunding, Aecom Singapore and SA Architects subsequently won the tender.[13][14] The first part of a preliminary engineering study was completed in March 2014.[15]

In September 2014, the Johor Public Works, Rural and Regional Development committee chairman Datuk Hasni Mohammad announced that Malaysia had chosen Bukit Chagar as its terminating station, over Tanjung Puteri, JB Sentral 1 and JB Sentral 2. The terminal would have its own Customs and Immigration clearance facilities, separate from the existing facilities at Sultan Iskandar Building. He also mentioned that Singapore had given no indication of the final alignment of the link from a total of three options.[16] Singapore's Ministry of Transport then responded that they were unable to finalise the alignment of the crossing as there was no confirmation of the location of Malaysia’s RTS terminus.[17]

At a joint news conference between Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak held on 13 December 2016, it was announced that the link will adopt the Thomson–East Coast MRT line's (TEL) system including the four core TEL systems — trains, signalling system, communication system and Integrated Supervisory Control System in order to reap economies of scale. A high-bridge crossing was chosen for the RTS to cross the Straits of Johor. The link would be operated by a corporate entity and its fare would be market-based and set by the operator as well.[13]

At the 13th meeting of the Malaysia-Singapore Joint Ministerial Committee for Iskandar Malaysia in July 2017, officials from both countries announced that the link would start operating by Dec 31, 2024 and that they have agreed to jointly appoint an operating company to run and maintain the RTS operating systems, including its trains, tracks and signalling system. Singapore's SMRT Corporation and Malaysia's Prasarana Malaysia were appointed as operators for the link by the respective governments and both were negotiating terms for the joint venture which would have a first concession period of 30 years. Each government would also appoint an infrastructure company to fund, build, own, maintain and upgrade the civil infrastructure and stations in their own countries. Daily shuttle train service from Woodlands train checkpoint to Johor Baru would also cease operating after the RTS Link opens.[1] However, according to Datuk Ismail Ibrahim, CEO of the Iskandar Regional Development Authority, the completion date is targeted for 2022.[18]

However, in August 2017, the Sultan of Johor Ibrahim Ismail expressed serious reservations on the proposed design of the rail track, citing that the overall curve-shaped design and height would disrupt the city skyline along the Johor Straits. He also questioned the need for both countries to engage separate contractors to build portions of the link in their respective countries and the involvement of Prasarana Malaysia in the joint operating company with SMRT Corporation instead of the Johor state government. As such, he wanted the overall plan to be reviewed to ensure that it would be "logical, economical and sustainable".[19][20]

A memorandum of understanding between SMRT Corporation and Prasarana Malaysia was signed in September 2017 to form a joint venture company to operate the link. Details such as control of the operating company were yet to be worked out.[21]

On 16 January 2018, Singapore and Malaysia signed a bilateral agreement on the project. Signed by Singapore's Transport Minister and Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure Khaw Boon Wan and Malaysia's Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan. It was witnessed by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak during the 8th Singapore-Malaysia Leaders' Retreat, the agreement finalised certain aspects of the project, including its maintenance facilities, operator, and customs facilities.[22] Construction of the 4km link is set to begin in 2019.

After the Malaysian general election, 2018, despite efforts to reduce the national debt, Malaysia's new Transport Minister Loke Siew Fook mentioned in end-May 2018 that Malaysia remains committed to the project but the Ministry of Finance would be looking at ways to reduce the cost of the project.[23] However, in mid-July 2018, Singapore Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said in Parliament that Singapore had not heard anything official from the new Malaysian government despite Loke's comments. A joint operating company between Singapore's SMRT Corporation and Malaysia's Prasarana Malaysia was supposed to be incorporated by June 30, 2018 but did not occur either as discussions between the two companies were suspended after Malaysia's general election.[9]

In end-July 2018, Malaysia Transport Minister Loke Siew Fook expressed hope that the project would proceed as planned and that the Malaysian cabinet has given in-principle approval to the project but are still looking into the cost and other details. He also mentioned that the issue of compensation did not apply as the joint operating company was not set up yet. A working paper on the project would be presented to the cabinet soon and the joint operating company would be set up once the full approval is given by the cabinet. Despite the delay, he said that the project would still be completed on time by 2024.[24][25]

On 13 October 2018, it was reported that Singapore's Land Transport Authority has called for tender for the construction of a 1.1km tunnel and overhead bridge to Johor in end-September 2018. Construction is scheduled to begin in the middle of 2019.[26]


Station number Station name Interchange and notes
 RTS  TE1  Woodlands North Singapore terminus
Connected to the Thomson-East Coast MRT line
 RTS  Bukit Chagar Malaysia terminus
Walking distance to the Tebrau BRT line

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Sim, Royston (31 July 2017). "Singapore, Malaysia ministers agree to start MRT service to Johor Baru by 2024". The Straits Times. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  2. ^ "Prasarana, SMRT ink MOU to set up JV company". Astro Awani. 25 September 2017.
  3. ^ "Prasarana and SMRT Corp sign MoU for RTS operating company". Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  4. ^ "SMRT, Prasarana sign MOU to form joint venture company for JB-Singapore RTS Link". Channel NewsAsia. 25 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Joint Factsheet by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) & SPAD - Highlights of the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link Bilateral Agreement - Press Room - Land Transport Authority".
  6. ^ "KL gives in-principle nod for Johor-S'pore rapid transit link". The Straits Times. 2018-07-31. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-09-03. Retrieved 2014-08-27.
  8. ^ Barrow, Keith. "Singapore and Malaysia sign accord on cross-border metro line". International Railway Journal. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  9. ^ a b Tan, Christopher (10 July 2018). "No official word from new Malaysia govt on RTS Link to JB". The Straits Times. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  10. ^ "Joint Statement on Singapore-Malaysia Leaders' Retreat between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Prime Minister Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, 24 May 2010, Singapore". Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  11. ^ "Msia - S'pore ink agreement on RTS Link this month". Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  12. ^ "Thomson Line Depot To Be Constructed In Mandai | Press Room | Land Transport Authority". Land Transport Authority.
  13. ^ a b Jia Qi, Lim. "Singapore-JB Rapid Transit System to be linked via high bridge over Straits of Johor". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  14. ^ "The Malaysia-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) | Official Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat (S.P.A.D.) Website". Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  15. ^ Preliminary engineering study on Rapid Transit System link to Johor Bahru completed - Channel NewsAsia Archived 2014-08-05 at the Wayback Machine.
  16. ^ Bak Heng, Sim. "Bukit Chagar chosen as final transit terminal". New Straits Times. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  17. ^ "Statement from Ministry of Transport (MOT) Spokesperson on the Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link". Ministry of Transport, Singapore. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  18. ^ "Johor-Singapore Rapid Transit System by 2022". The Edge Markets. 2017-05-02. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  19. ^ Yahaya, Yushaimi; Othman, Ahman Fairuz. "[EXCLUSIVE] Sultan of Johor on RTS design: 'Go back to the drawing board'". New Straits Times. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  20. ^ "Johor Sultan expresses serious reservations over Rapid Transit System Link design and proposed bridge". The Straits Times. 8 August 2017.
  21. ^ Naidu, Sumisha. "SMRT, Prasarana sign MOU to form joint venture company for JB-Singapore RTS Link". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  22. ^ "Singapore, Malaysia sign bilateral agreement on JB-Singapore Rapid Transit System". Channel NewsAsia. 16 January 2018.
  23. ^ Salleh, Nur Asyiqin Mohamad (31 May 2018). "JB-Singapore RTS link still on, says minister". The Straits Times. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  24. ^ "Malaysia minister says Cabinet has given in-principle nod for Johor-Singapore RTS link". The Straits Times. 30 July 2018. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  25. ^ "Working paper on JB-Singapore RTS link to be tabled to Cabinet soon: Malaysia transport minister". Channel NewsAsia.
  26. ^ "预计明年中动工 我国为新柔地铁建造工程招标". Lianhe Zaobao (in Chinese). 2018-10-13. Retrieved 2018-10-13.