Ferry service connecting Singapore, Desaru starts on July 7

One round trip per day from Thursdays to Sundays; tickets available online from June 30

Singapore-Desaru ferry services will start operations on July 7, connecting Singapore's Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal with Johor's Desaru Coast Ferry Terminal.

Tickets and service schedules will be made available online on Desaru Coast's website and Batam Fast's website from June 30.

According to a press release issued by Desaru Coast Destination Resort and Desaru Link Ferry Services yesterday, the ferry services will operate one round-trip service per day from Thursdays to Sundays.

The trip lasting 90 minutes each way will operate with a 330-passenger capacity during the initial months.

The frequency and capacity of the ferries will be adjusted if there is high demand for the service, said the operator.

Prices were not stated.

Industry players and tourists applauded the move to further open up travel between Singapore and Desaru, which lies on the eastern coast of Johor state.

Currently, it is accessible to travellers from Singapore by a 90-minute drive or a nearly four-hour bus ride from the Woodlands Checkpoint.

Mr Maverick Loh, general manager of the hotel Four Points by Sheraton Desaru, said: "This news was highly anticipated by everyone in the Desaru Coast area.

"I'm confident this will boost visitation to the local businesses and contribute to the thriving social economic hub."

He expects the number of hotel bookings to increase following the start of the ferry service, but said he was confident the hotel would have enough manpower to handle any surge in guest numbers.

Singaporeans were excited about the new ferry service, with some already making plans to book tickets.

Mr Christopher Thung, 32, an auditor, said he was planning a short getaway for an upcoming weekend.

"I love travelling via ferry because it gives off more holiday vibes than travelling by road. If you don't own a car, it's troublesome to travel all the way to Desaru. Now, with the ferry, I can finally visit Desaru without the hassle," he added.

Mrs Nisa Rizvi, a Singaporean private banker based in Dubai, said her extended family was already planning a trip to Desaru next month and the new ferry service would make their journey easier.

"We had been planning to visit Desaru and when this news appeared that a ferry will be launched, we were ecstatic. The ferry is so much more convenient, straight up to Desaru," said Mrs Rizvi, who is in her 40s.

Ms Lavinia Rajaram, head of public relations at Asia Expedia Group Brands, said that in the past 30 days, Desaru accounted for about 20 per cent of search queries on Expedia.com.sg for hotels in Johor state.

"Desaru has typically been a popular getaway resort town in Johor, Malaysia. However, due to its distance from Singapore's Woodlands/Tuas checkpoints, many travellers might have considered other destinations instead to avoid the long drive required," she said in response to queries.

Following the approval of the service on Tuesday, however, she said search demand for hotels in Desaru grew by 12 per cent compared with the daily average over the past 30 days.

• Additional reporting by Melissa Heng

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2022, with the headline Ferry service connecting Singapore, Desaru starts on July 7. Subscribe