Bukit Chagar poised to be JB’s main transportation hub once RTS project proceeds

Ben Tan
Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook and his Singapore counterpart Khaw Boon Wan being briefed on the proposed Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) station at Woodlands North in Singapore May 21, 2019. — Picture by Ben Tan

SINGAPORE, May 21 — Bukit Chagar in Johor Baru will be the main transportation hub for the southern part of the state if the proposed Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) link proceeds by September this year, Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Foo said today.

He said this was due to a comprehensive transportation plan for the state called the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) that can integrate with the RTS.

“With that, the RTS in Bukit Chagar will also be a hub for for the BRT buses that are presently under the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda),” said Loke during a visit to the proposed RTS Woodlands North site here.

He was accompanied by Singapore Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan and senior officials from the republic’s Land Transport Authority.

Johor’s RM2.56 billion BRT is expected to start in early 2022, with the aim of beating congestion and pollution and encouraging more people to use public transport.

The 4km RTS link was planned to connect the Woodlands North station on Singapore’s Thomson-East Coast MRT Line to Bukit Chagar in Johor Baru at an initial cost of RM4 billion.

However, Loke said that the government does not want to pre-empt the discussions on the RTS with its Singaporean counterparts.

“As we know, the BRT in Johor Baru will be under Irda and we are still looking at other suitable options as there is no firm decision made on the RTS yet,” he said.

On his visit to the Woodlands North RTS site, Loke said gave him a better understanding of the situation.

He said he will share details of his visit today with the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad upon his return to Malaysia.

“Basically, the Malaysian government does not have a firm decision on the future of the RTS.

“We want the project to continue, but we have yet to decide on how we plan to go ahead with the plan,” said Loke, referring to RTS.

Earlier, he had signed a supplementary agreement with Khaw where both governments agreed to suspend the proposed Johor Baru-Singapore RTS link until the end of September this year to allow Malaysia more time to study the scope, structure and costs of the project.

For the six-month delay, Loke said the Malaysian government will pay Singapore S$600,000 or about RM2 million as abortive cost before July 30 this year.

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