Saturday, January 3, 2009

Rail to JB mega mall starts Mon

Jan 3, 2009

Mall will have its own train station for trains to and from S'pore

By Diana Othman

THE newest mega mall in Johor Baru (JB), five minutes from the town centre, has been given its own train station for Malayan Railway trains originating in Singapore.

Danga City Mall, one of JB's biggest, is a seven-storey shopping centre with 92,900 sq m floor space. Metrojaya department store is its anchor tenant. It also has a bowling arcade, eateries and clothing outlets among its 500 shop units.

Singaporean shoppers who make regular money-saving forays into Johor's capital to shop have thus far favoured the City Square mall and shops in the heart of the town.

Now, Malayan Railway will give these shoppers another option. It will take just 90 minutes to get to Danga City Mall - including the time needed to clear immigration checks at the border.

Malayan Railways, or Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) will from Monday run eight daily trips to and from Danga City Mall - four departing from its Tanjong Pagar station here and four returning.

This month, promotional tickets will go for $3 for a single trip to the mall and RM3 to return here.

KTM trains can carry about 200 passengers on each run, but can take up to 1,000 per trip by just adding carriages if the demand calls for it.

Mr Hoo Seong Chang, who chairs Johor's Tourism and Domestic Trade committee, said at a press conference yesterday that KTM's stepped-up service was aimed at improving transportation between Singapore and Johor.

'It will be more convenient for travellers to have another travel option to JB,' he said.

Besides taking KTM trains or driving their own cars, Singaporeans get to JB by buses such as SBS Transit services 160 and 170 and taxis.

Mr Hoo added that KTM's services would also give trade and investment in other sectors a fillip as well.

Danga City Mall is part of Johor's project to turn Danga Bay into a tourist magnet.

Hotels and places of interest like fishing wharfs and Legoland Malaysia theme park are planned for the area.

Danga City Mall is also being developed into a 'transport hub': It will be where bus tours of JB, car rentals and transport to other parts of Malaysia will be available.

Singaporean Marzuin Marzudi, 28, a logistics executive who drives to Johor to shop at least twice a month, said she would consider taking the train.

'It sounds more convenient as the train stops right at the shopping areas. This is especially good news for those who don't drive as well,' she said.

About 10 million travellers entered Malaysia from Singapore between January to September last year, seven million of them Singaporean.

About 300 travellers enter Malaysia by train each day.

[This is an example of good planning - integrating transportation and shopping to hook Singaporeans who don't drive or don't want to drive to JB. It is convenient, fuss-free, and expedient (avoiding the checkpoint hassle). Costs also seems reasonable at $3 one-way. It is even cheaper than MRT fares (if you consider distance). ]

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