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Malaysia and Singapore sign agreement on RTS Link project

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The RTS Link stations. (Photo: LTA)

Malaysia’s Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) and Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) have announced the signing of a bilateral agreement on the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link (RTS Link) project. The key points of the agreement include the technical, safety and security requirements; commercial, financing, procurement and regulatory frameworks; and customs, immigration and quarantine arrangements.

The RTS Link will have the capacity to carry up to 10,000 passengers per hour per direction, which translates to additional capacity of 60,000 users crossing the Causeway during peak hours. To facilitate passenger flow, there will be co-located Custom, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) facilities in both Bukit Chagar and Woodlands North. Passengers travelling in either direction will clear both Malaysia and Singapore authorities at the point of departure, and need not go through immigration clearance again at the point of arrival.

The RTS Link passenger service is targeted to commence by December 2024. It will cross the Straits of Johor via a 25m-high bridge, linking the Bukit Chagar Station in Johor Bahru to the RTS Link Woodlands North Station in Singapore.

Each country will appoint an Infrastructure Company (InfraCo) to fund, build, own, maintain and renew the civil infrastructure and stations within their respective territories. Malaysia’s InfraCo will be Prasarana Malaysia Berhad, while Singapore’s InfraCo will be LTA.

Both governments will jointly appoint an operating company (OpCo) to own, design, build, finance, operate, maintain and renew the RTS Link’s operating assets (e.g. trains, tracks, systems). The OpCo will pay a concession fee to the two countries in exchange for the right to collect fare revenue from operating the RTS Link.

Both governments agree that for the first concession period, which will cover the first 30 years of operations, the OpCo will be a joint venture between a Malaysian company and a Singaporean company. These companies are Prasarana from Malaysia and SMRT from Singapore. They have committed to incorporate the JV by 30 June 2018, and to sign the concession agreement by 30 September 2018. Subsequent concessions will be awarded through open tender.