Many people make their way across the Johor-Singapore Causeway during weekends to take advantage of the strength of Singapore dollar against Malaysia ringgit. We do that occasionally too, to de-stress with food and retail therapy. Over the last weekend, we crossed the Causeway for the first time via Shuttle Tebrau. Started in July 2015, Shuttle Tebrau is a Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) train service between Singapore and Johor Bahru (JB). The starting point is Woodlands Train Checkpoint and the ending point is at JB Sentral Train Station.
Image courtesy of Amy00
We bought our tickets the day before via KTM E-ticketing online service. Alternatively, bookings can be made via BusOnlineTickets.com. There are currently 11 train service per day from Singapore to JB Sentral and 13 return train service from JB Sentral back to Singapore.
Each ticket costs a flat rate of S$5 per person per trip from Singapore to JB Sentral. Passengers can purchase train tickets from Woodlands Train Checkpoint Level 1 counter. But it is advisable to buy it in advance online as tickets get sold out quickly for weekends and peak season.
For passengers who have purchased E-vouchers like us, we would still have to exchange our E-vouchers for KTM tickets at the same counter. There was no service charge when we bought the tickets online and this gave an added assurance that we would have a seat in the train, rather than arriving at the train station with tickets all sold out.
To board the train, we proceeded to Level 2 to join the queue. No photography is allowed in these areas. The big plus point of taking this shuttle train to JB Sentral is the convenience as we got to clear the customs of both countries at the Woodlands Train Checkpoint.
The train was free-seating so it didn’t matter which seats we chose during the online purchase. There were 2 carriages with newer-looking seats but filling up fast with people. So we chose to board the last one which was empty. The earlier passengers had avoided this one as it was obviously older and not as well-maintained. We even spotted spider webs between seats too. But still, it was good enough for a 5-minute journey (minus the waiting time).
Passengers started trickling onboard as they cleared the customs. Even our carriage was filled before the departure.
Our train departed 20mins behind schedule when all the ticketed passengers had boarded the train. There are notices informing that boarding will be closed 10mins before train departure but that didn’t seem to be true for this train we boarded.
The 5-minutes journey was over quickly. We checked out the traffic condition on the familiar Causeway as our train chugged past. Upon arrival at JB Sentral train station, we were just an over-bridge distance away from City Square shopping mall where we spent the afternoon.
Shuttle Tebrau’s tickets to JB Sentral are pricier than bus tickets but given the convenience, we will definitely choose to take it again.
*Updated in Aug 2017*
The return ticket is priced at RM5 per person. The return electronic ticket from JB Sentral to Woodlands Checkpoint can be used for boarding. So that’s an added convenience of not needing to exchange the ticket at a ticket counter. Commuters clear the customs of both countries in their respective Train Checkpoints but it was still quite fast for us as the queues were relatively shorter than for bus commuters.