Pedestrian traffic on Causeway eases on Friday afternoon but vehicular congestion persists

Screengrabs from traffic cameras showing jams around the Causeway.
Screengrabs from traffic cameras showing jams around the Causeway.PHOTO: LTA
Fed up with the traffic jams, hundreds of commuters from Malaysia decided to cross the Causeway on foot yesterday. Some waited for more than an hour to enter Singapore. The jams were due to stepped-up checks after the terrorist attacks in Paris and i
Fed up with the traffic jams, hundreds of commuters from Malaysia decided to cross the Causeway on foot yesterday. Some waited for more than an hour to enter Singapore. The jams were due to stepped-up checks after the terrorist attacks in Paris and increased holiday season traffic. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS READER
Long queues at the Causeway yesterday morning.
Long queues at the Causeway yesterday morning. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS READER
Long queues at the Causeway yesterday morning.
Long queues at the Causeway yesterday morning. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS READER

SINGAPORE - Pedestrian traffic across the Causeway appeared to have returned to normal on Friday afternoon (Dec 18) after massive jams the day before forced hundreds to cross into Singapore on foot.

Many heading into Singapore via the Woodlands Checkpoint on Friday evening said that they did not experience long waiting times, with a processing time of less than an hour.

However, some The Straits Times spoke to said that this could be because fewer people cross into Singapore in the evening. "Fewer people work the night shift, so the crowd is smaller," said Mr Yusop Sarip, 32, a technician who lives in Johor but works in Singapore. 

There was however heavy traffic in both directions at the checkpoint, with the jam stretching the length of the Causeway at 6pm. Bumper-to bumper traffic could be seen on Land Transport Authority traffic cameras from as early as 4.30pm. 

Johor Lorry Association president Anthony Tan was quoted in Malaysian paper, The New Straits Times, as saying that the congestion has gone from bad to worse.

He said the security checks have affected more than 3,000 lorries plying in and out of Singapore from the Causeway. Mr Tan claimed drivers complained about having to wait more than six hours to clear the checkpoint.

On Thursday morning, snaking queues were seen on both vehicle lanes and pedestrian lanes on the Causeway, as people fed up with traffic jams took to crossing on foot instead.

There was congestion as hundreds of commuters from Malaysia decided to walk to the Woodlands Checkpoint to enter Singapore.

The jams, which began at about 5am on Thursday, were due to stepped-up security at checkpoints into Singapore after the terrorist attacks in Paris, as well as increased traffic due to the Christmas season, reported Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao.

Pedestrians from Malaysia had to wait for more than an hour to enter Singapore, said Shin Min Daily News. Some gave up and turned back, while others joked about swimming across, said the Chinese papers. Police manpower was increased on both sides of the Causeway, and traffic eased at about 8am. Traffic was reportedly smooth at the Tuas Checkpoint.


Long queues at the Causeway yesterday. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS READER

The traffic jams at the causeway have had a knock-on effect on the availability of train tickets between Johor Baru and Woodlands checkpoint, making them harder to obtain than ever, Lianhe Wanbao reported.

Taking the train helps commuters avoid the jams, thus the tickets were always popular. They are snapped up nearly one month in advance, on the day that they are released.

For example, the tickets for Jan 18, 2016 are available from Sunday (Dec 20), and one commuter Mr Zhang, 61, told Wanbao that he will go to the train station at 4am to attempt to buy one.

He said that when the train service started in July, he could get tickets if he queued at 6am, but recently, they are sold out by then.

Some commuters wait at the ticket counter in Johor Baru in case there are places due to last minute refunds, Wanbao said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2015, with the headline 'Causeway sees long queues for commuters on foot'. Print Edition | Subscribe