THE high-speed rail (HSR) project between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore will offer commuters express and transit train services between the two cities.
However, the HSR service is not a round-the-clock operation. Its timetable is expected to be largely in synchrony with the operation hours of the local public transport services in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to ensure seamless connectivity.
At present, the ticket counter for the Kelana Jaya line at KL Sentral opens at 6am and closes at 11.45pm, while the KTM Komuter ticket counter opens at 6.30am and closes at 11pm.
In Singapore, the first train of the republic’s Mass Rapid Transit at Jurong East starts at 5.14am while the last train leaves at 12.25am.
Land Public Transport Commission (Spad) chairman Tan Sri Dr Syed Hamid Albar told the New Straits Times that both countries would discuss the service frequency of the HSR, including the number of coaches to be used for both the express and transit
Syed Hamid said it was too early to talk about the service frequency as many variables had to be factored in, including the anticipated passenger load.
“What I could say is that the frequency of the HSR will be comfortable enough for all commuters to choose as their preferred mode of transport. For express service, it will only take 90 minutes to connect the two cities.
“It will probably take about two hours to travel between the two cities under the transit train service.
“This is inclusive of the stopping time at each of the six transit stations, which takes about two minutes each, as well as Customs and Immigration clearance at border checkpoints.”
Industry sources said it was likely that both countries would be sharing the same Customs and Immigration checkpoints to expedite cross-border clearance, although it was unclear whether the checkpoints would be located at the Nusajaya or Singapore station.
The six transit stations for the HSR service are Putrajaya, Seremban, Ayer Keroh, and the Johor stations to be located between Sungai Mati and Bukit Pasir in Muar, Ayer Hitam in Batu Pahat, and Nusajaya.
In Kuala Lumpur, the HSR station will be located at Bandar Malaysia, which is the site of the old air base in Sungai Besi. Singapore has three options to choose from for the station location, which are the city centre, Jurong East or Tuas West.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had jointly announced the 330km project in February last year, which is set to change the land transportation landscape between the two cities.
It was reported that both governments were expected to ink an agreement on the project, reportedly to cost RM38.4 billion, which includes the purchase of locomotives and high-speed bullet trains.
The project is one of the entry point projects listed under the Economic Transformation Programme aimed at improving the economic dynamism of Malaysia’s capital city and liveability ranking relative to other global cities.
At present, it takes up to eight hours by train between the two cities, around five hours by bus and car, and 45 minutes by flight.