Improve system at Woodlands Checkpoint

A long queue forms at Woodlands for the first evening train to JB.
A long queue forms at Woodlands for the first evening train to JB.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

I am concerned about the gridlocks in the name of security at Woodlands Checkpoint.

Officers frequently put barriers in front of cars to stop them, creating a jam. Officers also install obstacles that narrow driving lanes. This can result in accidents and spats between drivers.

These gridlocks result in a 400m stretch that becomes a nightmare for motorists. I recently spent 11/2 hours in a holding pattern, where officers reacted only when irate motorists blared their horns.

Idling car engines burn petrol unnecessarily and result in pollution which, in a confined space, is hazardous to the environment and health of the Customs officers. After clearing immigration, motorcyclists and motorists are squeezed into a single lane to head to the exit. This is dangerous to both parties. Why is there such a haphazard traffic system?

There is also a second, random check at the Customs exit. Given that motorists have been known to slip through, I question if this method is the best way to effect security.

Customs officers also tend to stare at motorists as if we are criminals. Surely there are more courteous ways of conveying firmness and vigilance.

Collectively, these shortcomings suggest that the authorities are not thinking out of the box to ensure a modern, efficient and security-tight clearance system.

Changi Airport is a model of courtesy, professionalism and efficiency. Surely Woodlands Checkpoint can do the same.

Ravi Govindan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2015, with the headline 'Improve system at Woodlands Checkpoint'. Print Edition | Subscribe