Train to JB Guide – How Much KTM Train Tickets Cost & How to Get There

train to JB guide 2018

Now that the borders have finally reopened, it’s time for you make the trips down to JB you haven’t been able to in the past 2 years. Cafe hopping, reuniting with your family on the other side of the border, food hunting…there’s an endless list of things you could do in JB.

Typically, besides driving there, the train is an excellent way to travel to JB because they cut out all the stress and waiting of traffic jams and queueing up at customs. However, the KTM Shuttle Tebrau has been suspended due to the ongoing Gemas – Johor Bahru Electrified Double Tracking Project. The project is aimed at improving train speeds and capacity of the old, rickety trains you remember from your childhood.

Fortunately, the trains will be back up and running from 19 June. The tickets will be priced at RM5 (S$1.56) for a trip from JB to Woodlands, and S$5 from Woodlands to JB. It’s still very affordable.

Now that the KTM’s reopening, here’s a complete idiot’s guide to taking the train from Singapore to JB.  

Train tickets to JB from Singapore

The one train that services the Singapore to JB route is called Shuttle Tebrau, and it’s operated by Malaysia’s national train operator, KTM. 

Below is the daily Shuttle Tebrau train schedule from JB to Singapore:

Shuttle Service Departure Time Arrival Time
ST61 05:00 05:05
ST63 05:30 05:35
ST65 06:00 06:05
ST67 06:30 06:35
ST69 07:00 07:05
ST71 07:30 07:35
ST73 08:45 08:50
ST75 10:00 10:05
ST77 11:30 11:35
ST79 12:45 12:50
ST81 14:00 14:05
ST83 15:15 15:20
ST85 14:30 14:35
ST87 17:45 17:50
ST89 19:00 19:05
ST91 20:15 20:20
ST93 21:30 21:35
ST95 22:45 22:50

Below is the daily Shuttle Tebrau train schedule from Singapore to JB:

Shuttle Service Departure Time Arrival Time
ST72 08:30 08:35
ST74 09:45 09:50
ST76 11:00 11:05
ST78 12:30 12:35
ST80 13:45 13:50
ST82 15:00 15:05
ST84 16:15 16:20
ST86 17:30 17:35
ST88 18:45 18:50
ST90 20:00 20:05
ST92 21:15 21:20
ST94 22:30 22:35
ST96 23:45 23:50

As you can see, there are plenty of trains every day, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pre-book your train tickets. From experience, you’ll need to book in advance if you want to catch the train to JB on weekends and Friday nights.

There are 2 ways you can buy train tickets to JB: Either online via the KTM website, or over the counter at the train station. This table shows you how much train tickets cost:

Ticket sales channel Singapore to JB JB to Singapore
KTM website RM16 RM5 (one-way) / RM16 (bought as return ticket)
KTM counter (Woodlands) S$5 S$5
KTM counter (JB Sentral) RM16 RM5

I definitely recommend buying return tickets on the KTM website as early as you can. Tickets sell out ridiculously fast! To save money, you can buy your to and from tickets separately, so you pay RM5 + RM16 = RM21 instead of RM32.

Step 1: Book KTM train tickets to JB online

Visit the  KTM Shuttle Tebrau booking website to make your bookings.

new KTM website - train from Singapore to JB

new KTM website - train from Singapore to JB

To book your tickets, you need to fill in your details. The most important ones are your passport details, because train to JB tickets are now tied to your passport. There is no need to create an account, you can sign in by email / FB / Google.

new KTM website - train from Singapore to JB

For payment, KTM accepts Visa & Mastercard.

If you failed to buy tickets online for whatever reason, you can try your luck by queueing at the KTM counter at Woodlands Train Checkpoint

You’ll need to show the counter staff your passport and make payment in cash. Ticket sales cut off 15 minutes before train departure. 

For peak JB visiting days like weekends, public holidays and school holidays, over-the-counter tickets are usually sold out. If this happens, all is not lost — you can still walk over to the regular (non-train) checkpoint and catch a bus to JB instead.

Step 2: Get to Woodlands Train Checkpoint

train to JB guide 2018 woodlands train checkpoint

Assuming you got your KTM train tickets sorted online, the next step is to find your way to the Woodlands Train Checkpoint.

It’s actually in the same area as the regular Woodlands Checkpoint, but with the bonus of being very close to the bus stop/drop-off point so you don’t have to rub your flesh against throngs of human beings.

My usual route is to take the MRT to Marsiling station, cross the road, and take bus 856 from there. It’s only 3 stops from Woodlands Train Checkpoint.

Here are the other buses that serve the Woodlands Train Checkpoint bus stop. There are many options from Woodlands interchange as well.

train to JB guide 2018 woodlands train checkpoint

You know you’re in the right place when you look towards the left and see the gleaming KTM train to JB, just sitting there look all pretty while waiting for you to get on board:

train to JB guide 2018 woodlands train checkpoint

Step 3: Get your physical / e-ticket scanned

When you get to Woodlands Train Checkpoint, head upstairs to level 2, where you’ll see a queue of train passengers waiting on the left of the walkway. Join them and wait for the boarding gates to open.

Come at least 30 minutes before your train departs, because you need time to clear immigration on both sides before you get on the train. The boarding gate closes 10 minutes before train departureSo if your train is scheduled for 10am, you should arrive sometime between 9.30am and 9.50am.

From Singapore to JB, you will need a hard copy or digital copy of your KTM train ticket. This will be scanned by KTM staff as you check into the gates.

In the event of any screw-up, you may be required to go to the KTM ticket office to validate your online booking.

The ticket office is on the ground floor of Woodlands Train Checkpoint. You can’t miss it; there’s nothing else there except a lift. Also, there’s always a queue:

train to JB guide 2018

train to JB guide 2018

I’m not sure what the new SOP is, but you will probably be asked to show some proof of your booking so they can print out a physical ticket for you.

Step 4: Take the 5-minute train from Singapore to JB

Like I mentioned, you’ll pass through both Singapore and Malaysia immigration before you board the train.

First you’ll clear Singapore customs, which is a simple matter of scanning your passport and thumbprint through automated gates, just like at the airport.

Then you’ll walk a few metres to the Malaysia side. The customs staff will check and stamp your passport manually. After you’re clear, put your bag(s) through the scanning machine, pick it up, then board the train.

train to JB guide 2018

There will be a large “free seating” sign so go ahead and sit anywhere you want. Don’t be afraid to enter the next car – there’s no First Class or anything.

train to JB guide 2018

KTM trains are often oversubscribed so you might find yourself having to stand. This is perfectly safe and it’s just a few minutes anyway. Enjoy the view of the Straits of Johor and feel smug about making good life decisions as your train goes past the poor losers stuck in the Causeway jam.

train to JB guide 2018

5 minutes later, you’ll arrive in JB Sentral. From here, you can chiong Rotiboy, run amok in City Square, queue for banana cake at Hiap Joo Bakery, Grab to IKEA Tebrau, or whatever it is you plan to do with those ringgits.

train to JB guide 2018

All in, taking the train to JB should get you from Woodlands Train Checkpoint to JB Sentral in about 30 minutes. In contrast, taking a bus, taxi or car from Singapore to JB is highly unpredictable because of traffic. They say time is money, right?

Taking the return train from JB to Singapore

If you also booked the return trip from JB to Singapore, be there early. A good rule of thumb is to arrive 30 minutes before the train departs. Again, the boarding gate closes 10 minutes before train departure.

For those heading from JB back to Singapore, KTM implemented a new system for checking in from Oct 2019.

train from Singapore to JB

From JB to Singapore, you can check in with nothing but your passport. All you need to do is scan your passport on the self-service gantry (similar to MRT faregates). There’s no need to show a boarding pass.

Bear in mind that you can only check in with your passport when taking the train from JB to Singapore, but not Singapore to JB. (Not yet, anyway!)

Have you ever taken the train to JB? What did you think of it? Tell us in the comments!

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