Iskandar Regional Development Authority chief executive officer Ismail Ibrahim on transportation improvements:
The land transport authorites of Singapore and Malaysia are studying a rapid transit system (RTS) link between Singapore and Johor Baru. The architecture and engineering consultancy consists of two phases. Phase one is expected to be completed by year-end.The Joint Ministerial Committee for Iskandar will decide on the option to be adopted in phase two. Taxi services between Johor Baru and Singapore are also being improved.
Effective June 1, commuters taking cross-border taxis will be able to board and alight anywhere on the domestic leg of the journey.
For example, a commuter that takes a Singapore cross-border taxi can board or alight anywhere in Singapore. Similarly, a passenger taking a Malaysia cross-border taxi can board or alight anywhere in Malaysia.
But commuters need to board and alight at the designated terminals when they are not on the domestic leg, i.e. a commuter that takes a Singapore cross-border taxi can only board and alight at PasarBakti terminal in Johor Baru and likewise, a Malaysia cross-border taxi can only pick up or drop off commuters at the Ban San Street terminal in Singapore.
The transportation improvements are critical to the success of Iskandar-Singapore success. Currently the delays on the current links are bad and increasing. It seems that the estimates for how much traffic would be generating have been far too low. The addition of the second link is recent and yet the delays keep getting longer on average days (not even holidays). This seems to me to be a serious problem, especially when you consider that in the next 2 years there will be substantial additions in Iskandar, Malaysia that would increase cross border traffic. But with the delays already unacceptably long it seems there will be serious problems.
If there are process improvement and manpower adjusts that can help address these problems they should be a top priority (and why they haven’t been done already would be very puzzling). It seems to me a 3rd link is needed as soon as possible. In addition to the MRT and an expansion to the existing causeway capacity.
The tweaks to allowing taxis to pick up passengers anywhere at the first leg of the journey (which is my guess at what is said above though I am not sure really) is good thing. This doesn’t do anything about capacity issues or long delays at the links but it is an improvement in the previous operating process (which required taxi pickup at 1 or 2 specified spots only in order to cross the links). Hopefully the restriction on dropping people off can be eliminated soon also.
I don’t really understand the sense of the taxi process. There are cars that will pickup and drop off anywhere (for crossing the links) but are not painted up as taxis. I don’t quite understand the value of having different rules for cars depending on if they have meters inside or are considered something else (but do the exact same things a taxi does, but probably can’t pick up passengers on the street – probably they are only allowed to respond to phone calls).
Anyway, at least the taxi process is improving.