Regarded as the world’s busiest border, about 300,000 people make the land crossings between Singapore and Johor Bahru daily. Though there are a few modes of travel, the fastest is via the Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) Shuttle Tebrau – a cross-border train service.
Introduced in July 2015, the Shuttle Tebrau ferries up to 320 passengers each way across the 1-km-long causeway bridge in just 5 minutes. Here’s what you need to know about travelling by the KTM Shuttle Tebrau.
Buying KTM Shuttle Train Tickets
A convenient way to buy KTM Shuttle train tickets is through the online ticketing site. Simply click on the sign-up option in the right-hand corner to register for an account. You would be asked to key in your personal details, so remember to have your passport next to you.
Do note that you need to login to your account to purchase your subsequent train tickets.
Source: KTM Shuttle Tebrau
Once you are logged in to your account, you can proceed to book your tickets for yourself and/or your family members.
Select your destination, which would be Woodlands CIQ (Origin) to JB Sentral (Designation) if you are heading from Singapore to Johor Bahru. Also, select your travel dates and the number of tickets that you intend to purchase.
Once you click search, you will see all the available shuttle times for the selected travel date.
There are a total of 13 shuttle services from Singapore to JB, starting from 8.30am to 11.45pm at a roughly one-hour interval. On the other hand, there are a total of 17 shuttle services from JB to Singapore, starting from 5am to 10.45pm.
Click on the “Select” button to choose the preferred timing and proceed with the ticket purchase.
Next, you would be required to fill in the passenger details. If you are buying the ticket for yourself, remember to check the box that indicates “I am travelling,” which will auto-populate based on the information that you provided when signing up for the account. Otherwise, you may have to key in the passenger details as required.
Once you have filled in the details, you will need to make payment for the tickets to complete the transaction.
If you are buying the tickets originating from Singapore, they would cost $5 (MYR17.90) one-way and $10 (MYR35.80) two-way. Do note that the amount on the website will be converted to Malaysia Ringgit. On the other hand, if you are buying the tickets originating from Johor Bahru Sentral to Singapore, you will be charged MYR5 (one-way) and MYR10 (two-way).
Therefore, if you are travelling from Singapore to JB and back, it might be better to book two single trips instead of one return trip. This way, you would only need to pay MYR22.90 instead of MYR35.80.
The online ticketing system offers five different payment options, including paying with your MasterCard or VISA credit cards. Once your payment is confirmed, you will receive an electronic receipt and ticket details at your registered email address. The travel details can also be accessed on the ticketing site, under My Account—>My Ticket—>Upcoming.
Getting To Woodlands Train Checkpoint
The KTM Shuttle Tebrau operates at the Woodlands Train Checkpoint. To get there by public transport, you could take the following three bus services: 911, 856, and 178, from the Woodlands Interchange. It takes around 15 to 20 minutes of travel time.
Alternatively, you could also board the bus 856 or 178 from the bus stop opposite Marsiling MRT station, which is 3 bus stops away from the Woodlands Train Checkpoint.
These three bus services stop conveniently in front of the Woodlands Train Checkpoint, unlike the cross-border bus services that stop at the Woodlands Checkpoint.
Clearing The Immigration Process
Once you reach the Woodlands Train Checkpoint, head to the second floor via the flight of stairs or the lift. You would see a waiting area on the left of the walkway for the train passengers. The gates would open 40 minutes before departure time and close 20 minutes before departure time.
The immigration officer would scan your passport, which will serve as your boarding pass, to verify your train ticket purchase. Nevertheless, you may still want to have access to the train ticket details, whether electronically or in hardcopy, just in case.
Once verified, you would be allowed to enter the boarding hall, where you will clear both the Singapore and Malaysian customs before departure. As there are no assigned seats on the Shuttle Tebrau, you are free to grab any available seating.
Typically, the train would leave no later than 5 minutes from the stated departure time.
The whole train ride takes around 5 minutes to reach JB Sentral. As there are no further checks carried out at the Malaysian side, you can be on your way once you exit from the train station.
Coming Back To Singapore From JB Sentral
For return, you could purchase the train tickets from the counter at JB Sentral, subject to availability. However, each transaction at the counter is limited to only 4 tickets. In contrast, online purchases allow for a slightly higher limit of 6 tickets per transaction. The counter would stop selling the tickets 20 minutes before the train’s departure time.
The boarding gates at the JB Sentral would open 30 minutes before departure time and close 10 minutes before departure time. Once you pass through the Automatic Controller Gate (ACG) by scanning your passport, you would have to go through the Malaysian custom clearance before departure. Subsequently, you would have to clear the Singapore customs upon arrival in Singapore.
Other Things To Take Note
Do make sure that your passport and your co-traveller’s passport have at least 30 days of validity from the day of travel.
Also, do note that there are no concession tickets. As such, children over 4 years old would have to pay the same ticket fare. However, children under 4 years old can travel for free but would be required to register at the ticket counter before departure.
Lastly, it’s important to adhere to the customs rules of each country regarding the items that can be brought over. For example, you cannot bring fresh fruits like citrus, mango, mangosteen, and banana species into Malaysia without an import permit and phytosanitary certificate.
RTS Will Be The Future Train Service Connecting Singapore And Johor Bahru
By the end of 2026, travellers would be able to look forward to a new train service, the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link. The 4-km-long train journey will operate between the Singapore terminus at Woodlands North Station and Bukit Chagar Station in Johor Bahru.
The RTS is expected to serve up to 10,000 commuters during peak periods, every hour and in each direction. There will also be co-located Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) facilities that would allow travellers in either direction to clear both Singapore and Malaysia immigration at the point of departure.
As part of the RTS Link agreement, the Shuttle Tebrau services are expected to discontinue within 6 months from the commencement of RTS operations.
Feature Image Credit: KTM Shuttle Tebrau
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