JOHOR BAHRU: Close to 70,000 tickets were sold as the train service between Malaysia's Johor Bahru Sentral station and Woodlands station in Singapore resumed operations on Sunday (Jun 19).
The service, known as the Tebrau Shuttle, was suspended on Mar 24, 2020 for two years following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The resumption of the service was well-received as almost 70,000 tickets were sold for a period of one month, said Malaysia's Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong. The move will help reduce congestion on the Causeway, he added.
“For the initial stage, we are only targeting 240 passengers (one trip) in the first week because we need to coordinate certain things such as MySejahtera and other features, said Dr Wee.
“We are targeting 7,000 passengers to be able to use this service daily when it is fully operational,” he added.
Dr Wee was speaking at a press conference after flagging off the Tebrau Shuttle at Johor Bahru. He was joined by Johor’s chief minister Onn Hafiz Ghazi as well as KTM chairman Musa Sheikh Fadzir and group chief executive officer Rani Hisham Samsudin.
Mr Onn Hafiz expressed his appreciation to the ministry of transport, KTM and all those involved in the resumption of Tebrau Shuttle.
“Seeing the resumption of the shuttle service is a historic moment after it was suspended for two years and the people have been waiting since,” he said.
“It can help the state to reduce traffic congestion, ticket sales for one month alone reached 70,000 so (we can see) that there is a high demand,” he added.
In a Facebook post on Sunday, Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority said that the resumption of operations at the Woodlands Train Checkpoint means an additional mode of transport for land border crossings.
"ICA has worked with the Malaysian authorities for the resumption of this service to enable a smooth and safe immigration clearance experience for shuttle train travellers," it added.
There are 31 Tebrau Shuttle trips between JB Sentral and Woodlands daily, with 18 from JB Sentral to Woodlands and 13 from Woodlands to JB Sentral. The frequency is 30 minutes during peak hours.
Services from JB Sentral start at 5am and end at 10.45pm, while trains at Woodlands run from 8.30am to 11.45pm.
One-way tickets for the JB Sentral to Woodlands route are priced at RM5 (S$1.58) while those for the Woodlands-JB Sentral route are sold at S$5.
Malaysia and Singapore reopened their borders on Apr 1, allowing vaccinated people to travel across the Causeway via private vehicles.
Cross-border bus and taxi services later resumed on May 1.
Before the pandemic, the Causeway was one of the busiest land checkpoints in the world, with about 300,000 people passing through every day.