Fri, Jan 22, 2021 – 6:00 PM
THE Rapid Transit System (RTS) linking Singapore and Johor Bahru may be a short service with only two stations, but its economic and social benefits are significant, Singapore’s Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Friday.
Speaking at the ground-breaking event for the RTS Link Woodlands North station, Mr Ong said the 4-km long RTS Link will offer an attractive alternative to the Causeway, which nearly 300,000 commuters crossed daily before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
The Singapore-Malaysia border has been closed for months, although a reciprocal green lane to facilitate essential business and official travel is in place.
Mr Ong said: “The Causeway may be empty today, but Covid-19 will pass, travel restrictions will be lifted, and the commuters will return.
“With a capacity of up to 10,000 commuters per hour per direction, the RTS Link can potentially shift thousands of motorcycles and cars off the Causeway, while providing a faster and more comfortable commute.”
The RTS Link Project was first agreed upon during the Leaders’ Retreat in 2010, but was delayed several times due to Malaysia’s change of government in 2018.
Last July, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his counterpart Muhyiddin Yassin stood on their respective sides of the Causeway to mark the resumption of the RTS Link project.
Malaysia has since broken ground for the construction of the link at its future Bukit Chagar station in Johor Bahru.
Mr Ong said: “I am glad to see both countries taking ‘concrete action’ on the project, and I am confident that we will work hard together to deliver the project on time, by end 2026.
“When the RTS Link is up and running, we will have an additional land linkage between Singapore and Malaysia.”
In Singapore, the RTS Link station will be right next to the Woodlands North station on the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL), allowing it to be integrated with the local transport networks, he said.
As more phases of the TEL open in the years ahead, getting to the RTS Link station will be smooth and easy, and there will be a transport hub connected to the RTS Link and TEL stations, he said.
At the same time, Woodlands Regional Centre is undergoing other transport-related developments.
The Land Transport Authority is also developing the upcoming North-South Corridor, which Mr Ong said will provide an efficient connection between Woodlands and Sembawang towns to the city centre and other surrounding developments.
“Taken together, these transport connections will support and enhance the larger development plans to transform Woodlands into a key growth hub and thriving employment gateway for the North Region, just like Jurong and Tampines,” Mr Ong said.
The Woodlands Regional Centre, comprising Woodlands Central and Woodlands North Coast precincts, will have 700,000 sq m of new commercial space and more than 100 hectares of land for development, he said.
In Woodlands North Coast, JTC is spearheading several industrial developments, he added.
The first two, 1 and 7 North Coast, will be completed later this year and will offer close to 90,000 sq m of manufacturing spaces, with shared facilities and eateries.
The Woodlands Regional Centre will also serve as a strategic centre for the Agri-Tech and Food Corridor spanning across the northern Singapore – from the local farms in Lim Chu Kang to the Agri-Food Innovation Park in Sungei Kadut Eco-District and the food-related industries in Senoko Food Zone, he said.
“In the coming years, Woodlands will be revamped, revitalised and rejuvenated. There will be a new buzz here. And the RTS Link, when operational, will serve as a key gateway to these developments.”