JOHOR BARU - Johor has proposed for an hourly KTM Bhd train service across the Causeway as an alternative for commuters who are facing higher toll rates at the Singapore checkpoint.
State Domestic Trade, Consumerism and Tourism Committee chairman Datuk Tee Siew Kiong said this could compel Malaysians driving into the island republic to switch to public transport.
"It can have a positive impact such as alleviating congestion in the city centre and the Causeway," he said yesterday.
Tee was commenting on Singapore's Land Transport Authority's (LTA) statement that toll charges would be increased by five-fold from Oct 1.
Tee said KTM added a new time slot recently to its existing five to Singapore.
"It takes only about five minutes to reach Woodlands," he said.
"The new 5am slot has been well received as it is packed daily with some 300 passengers."
The other time slots are 6am, 8.30am, 2pm, 8pm and 11.30pm.
The new toll rates apply to all vehicles, except motorcycles, entering and leaving Singapore. Currently, it is only imposed on vehicles leaving the republic.
The toll charges for cars will be raised from the current S$1.20 (RM3.03) to S$6.50 (RM16.44), while the charges for vans and light goods vehicles will be increased from S$1.90 (RM4.81) to S$9.80 (RM24.79).
As for heavy vehicles, it has been raised from S$2.60 (RM6.58) to S$13 (RM32.88). The toll charges for taxis will be hiked to S$3.30 (RM8.35) from S$0.60 (RM1.52) while for buses it will be S$5.30 (RM13.40), up from S$1 (RM2.53).
Singapore's decision to increase the toll charges was severely criticised by Johoreans.
Chen Suu Wei, 34, who travels to Singapore daily for work, said Malaysians were definitely on the losing side.
"Singaporeans will not bat an eyelid when paying our toll in ringgit, but Malaysians have to pay in Singapore dollars,'' she said.