Changes needed to improve traffic flow at checkpoints

The heavy flow of traffic seen at Woodlands Checkpoints towards Johor Baru on 10 June 2014.
The heavy flow of traffic seen at Woodlands Checkpoints towards Johor Baru on 10 June 2014.PHOTO: BH FILE

The congestion at the Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints has always been thought of as a problem of the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority.

However, it is the Land Transport Authority (LTA) that largely contributes to the congestion.

- Foreign cars are granted free entry after 5pm on weekdays.

This results in foreign cars waiting and obstructing traffic on the bridge for up to an hour before 5pm. After 5pm, the floodgates open and the sudden increase in traffic overwhelms the checkpoint.

The LTA should graduate the toll fee, with different rates at different times, to better regulate the traffic volume.

Free entry should be granted only after 8pm, in line with the Electronic Road Pricing system.

- Increasingly, more Singaporeans are going to Malaysia for work.

A different set of toll fees should be charged for these travellers. An annual pass and special fast-pass lane should be implemented to ease their travel.

Toll fees should also be set independently, instead of pegging them to those of our Malaysian counterparts. The fees should be set in line with our government policies of promoting our economy and the livelihood of Singaporeans.

- Toll collection should be done just once, instead of both times, when a traveller goes to and fro. This will reduce the time taken in collecting the toll.

- Improve the technology used for paying the toll. For instance, wave-and-go, pay-wave technology is much more efficient.

Alternative payment methods to CashCards should also be accepted. Credit cards would be a good alternative.

In addition, currently, if a driver's CashCard has insufficient balance, he has to go to the customer service counter to pay by Nets. There is no top-up facility, which means that the driver will encounter the same problem on his return trip, resulting in delays and stress.

- Improve the management of bus queues. Currently, buses have to queue in a single file to pick up their passengers.

This results in some commuters jumping the queue to get to an earlier service if their original bus is farther behind in the bus queue.

- Buses and cars also currently use the same lane. There should be a dedicated bus lane to enable unobstructed movement of buses coming into Singapore.

Chang Lee Lee (Ms)