SINGAPORE - Travellers have snapped up weekend peak-time tickets for the train service between Johor Bahru and Woodlands, which resumes operations this Sunday (June 19).
The Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) train service, also known as the Tebrau Shuttle, takes only five minutes to get from Woodlands to JB. It was suspended from March 24, 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tickets for popular time slots around the weekends, like Friday evenings, Saturday mornings and Sunday evenings, have sold out on the KTM website. Tickets for trips between 6.45pm and 10.30pm on June 24, the first Friday after the train resumes operations, are also sold out.
But with 31 total trips daily, 18 from JB to Singapore and 13 from Singapore to JB at a frequency of 90 minutes, there are still many tickets available at off-peak times.
The tickets are priced at $5 for a trip from Woodlands to JB and RM5 (S$1.60) for JB to Woodlands. The cross-border bus services offered by SMRT and Transtar Travel cost approximately $2.
Madam Kheoh Phaik Ean, 67, is looking forward to travelling via the train service again.
The housewife was a regular on the Tebrau train shuttle service before the pandemic and prefers it over bus services for its speed and convenience.
She used to make frequent trips to Singapore to meet her two daughters, aged 22 and 27, when they were students in Singapore.
She plans to buy the train tickets soon and does not mind waiting for tickets to be available rather than taking the bus.
Madam Yanti Mahad, 48, who travels from Singapore to JB fortnightly for leisure, said the journey is much shorter by train.
"It takes only 15 minutes by train from point to point, but more than 30 minutes by bus if there is traffic. It's a lot faster," said the spa therapist.
But Madam Siti Astilah, 35, who crosses the border two to three times a week to be with her family in JB, is sticking with the bus for now.
The nurse, who works at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, said: "The Tebrau train shuttle services are indeed fast, but there seem to be more and earlier cross-border bus services now."
For Ms Bernice Heng, 19, a student in JB, nothing beats the train in terms of convenience. She said she used to take the train prior to the pandemic as she did not need to spend time queueing for the bus.
The Malaysian, who used to attend school in Singapore, makes the trip across the border twice a month to meet her friends here.
"I might have to fight for the train tickets if they sell out fast but I intend to take the train because it's a lot more convenient," she said.
- Additional reporting by Soh Pei Xuan