The Keletapitana Melayu (KTM) train between Johor Bahru and Woodlands resumed operation on Sunday (June 19) after being suspended for more than two years by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The resumption of service was welcomed by commuters, who said traveling by train was faster and more convenient than traveling by bus or car.

Elaine Ng, 33, who was awake after 3 am on June 13 to secure a JB ticket shortly after the sale, said she prefers to take the train rather than get stuck in Causeway road traffic. rice field.

“When I went to JB by bus last Saturday morning, I was so busy that it took me about three hours to get there,” said Logistics Manager Ng.

Another commuter, 44-year-old healthcare worker Stephanie Lee, said one benefit of getting on the train was that she didn’t have to get up early in the morning to beat the crowd at the Woodlands Checkpoint.

“If you buy your ticket in advance, you’ll only have to arrive before boarding time to guarantee your seat,” she said.

Lee added that immigration will be faster as commuters get stamped on their passports by both Singapore and Malaysian officers before they get on the train.

“Therefore, you can save time by not having to go through immigration twice when you get on the bus,” she said.

The train, also known as the Tebrau Shuttle, was shut down on March 24, 2020 to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Currently, there are 31 trips daily, 18 from JB Central to Woodlands and 13 from Woodlands to JB Central. Each trip takes about 5 minutes.

Trains to JB run from 8:30 am to 11:45 pm, and trains to Woodlands run from 5 am to 10:45 pm.

Approximately 7,000 passengers are expected to use this service each day, and 320 passengers can travel.

Tickets cost $ 5 for a trip from Woodlands to JB and RM5 (S $ 1.60) for a trip from JB to Woodlands. It will be sold about a month ago.

By comparison, the cross-border bus service operated by SMRT and Transtar Travel costs about $ 2.

According to the KTM website, tickets for popular weekend hours, such as Friday nights and Saturday mornings, are almost sold out.

When the Straits Times arrived at the Woodlands Train Checkpoint around 9am, there was a line of about 50 commuters waiting to catch the 9:45 am train.

Among them was Tay Kai Xian, a 26-year-old financial risk consultant who visited Malaysia for the first time since the pandemic.

“It’s more convenient now because you don’t have to carry a physical ticket. You only have to show your passport to get on the train,” he said.

Those who have taken the train before said it looks better and more refurbished than before.

“The train looked new and was very comfortable,” said SH Wang, 32, an accountant who visited his family at JB and returned to Singapore.

“Almost all seats were occupied, but still much less crowded than getting on a bus,” she added.

ST Liang, a 42-year-old project manager in the gaming industry, said the train to Woodlands was delayed by about 25-30 minutes.

“Our train was supposed to depart at 10 am, but it was said that there was a technical problem. Today is the first day the train will resume operation and everything should go smoothly. So I was surprised, “he said.

“It was a little inconvenient because I had children, but other than that, the immigration procedure was very smooth.”

Many commuters told ST that they would travel to Malaysia more often as trains resumed.

Nuraishah Hamza, 37, who went to the JB once a month before the pandemic, said she might resume doing so.

“It’s very convenient. You can skip the line of snakes to cross the causeway, and immigration (clearance) will be faster,” said Hamza, a civil servant.

“Shopping trips and staycations are just a short train ride away.”

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