SINGAPORE - Rail operators SMRT and Prasarana Malaysia will form a joint venture by June this year to run the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link.
The companies have also committed to sign the concession agreement for the cross-border MRT service by Sept 30, said Singapore's Land Transport Authority (LTA) and Malaysia's Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) in a joint statement on Tuesday (Jan 16).
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 company, and not be regulated by the two governments.
The 4km line will link Bukit Chagar station in Johor Baru to the Singapore terminus in Woodlands North, where commuters can transfer to the upcoming Thomson-East Coast MRT Line (TEL).
The LTA and SPAD said heavy maintenance for the RTS trains will be outsourced to TEL operator SMRT at the Thomson-East Coast Lines's Mandai Depot, while a light maintenance facility will be built at Bukit Chagar.
The RTS Link shares the same core systems including trains and signalling as the TEL, for economies of scale, said LTA and SPAD.
When ready by Dec 31, 2024, the Link can carry up to 10,000 passengers per hour in each direction.
This translates to an additional capacity of 60,000 commuters crossing the Causeway during peak hours.
This is much higher than the average 300 passengers per hour in each direction carried by the daily shuttle train service between Woodlands and Johor Baru, SPAD and LTA noted.
The Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhard's Tebrau Shuttle will cease six months after the Link begins operating.
Singapore and Malaysia inked a legally binding agreement to build the Link earlier on Tuesday.
The agreement captures key points such as technical, safety and security requirements; commercial, financing, procurement and regulatory frameworks; and customs, immigration and quarantine arrangements.