The idea of a Mass Rapid Transit system between Northern Singapore and Johor Bahru was first suggested in 1991 when Singapore’s communications minister Mah Bow Tan said that the Woodlands Extension, now part of the North-South line, would be designed to accommodate such an extension. This vision is now going to become a reality. The Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link project is on track to be operational by end-2026. Good progress has been made on the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link project and both countries are looking forward to the commencement of passenger services by end-2026.

What is the RTS link project?

The RTS Link is basically a direct MRT line from Singapore to Johor Bahru.

It is a 4km-long rail link connecting Bukit Chagar in Johor Bahru to Woodlands in Singapore. It is expected to ferry up to 10,000 passengers per hour, which would help to ease traffic congestion on the Causeway.

When built, the RTS Link will be the second rail link between the two countries after the KTM Intercity’s Shuttle Tebrau, between JB Sentral and Woodlands Train Checkpoint. However, the RTS Link is expected to replace this shuttle once it is completed.

Each terminus will have co-located immigration facilities – commuters will clear both Singapore and Malaysia authorities at the departure point and not at the arrival point.

A memorandum of understanding between SMRT Corporation and Prasarana Malaysia was signed in September 2017 to form a joint venture company to operate the link.

RTS Operations Pte Ltd (RTSO) formed as a joint venture between SMRT Corporation Ltd and Prasarana Malaysia Berhad to design, build and finance the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link.

RTSO has been awarded a 30-year concession to own, design, install, test, operate, and maintain the Rapid Transit System Link (RTS Link) Assets between Bukit Chagar, Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and Woodlands North, Singapore. RTSO will also operate and maintain the Wadi Hana depot in Johor Bahru.

Commenting on the same, Mr, Yap Kim Wah, Vice Chairman of RTS Operations Pte Ltd, said: “The RTS Link will create new communities, change lifestyles and offer immense opportunities for closer economic, social, and cultural ties. It will also provide better and faster connectivity for communities living and working on both sides of the Causeway.”

SMRT Chairman, Seah Moon Ming, stated: “The RTS Link is a significant milestone that will bring the people, cultures, and societies on both sides of the Causeway closer. It will enhance cross-border connectivity for millions of commuters for decades to come.”

Seah Moon Ming further added: “The public transportation links between our two countries will serve us for decades to come.”

Now, the foreign affairs ministers of Singapore and Malaysia are discussing how to expand bilateral collaboration into new areas, such as the digital and green economies.


JB-Singapore RTS Link will serve the growing transportation needs between Singapore and Johor Bahru”. It is also expected to be a boon to tourism between the two countries.

About the Author

Robert Lee

Robert is a design engineer at a leading metro car manufacturing company in South Korea. He has a keen interest in railway infrastructure and loves to share his views on them. When he is not writing, he loves to explore new places.