3-hour customs queues as travellers head across Causeway for Chinese New Year

Heavy traffic on the Causeway in a photo taken in 2017. Traffic conditions are likely to build up over the Chinese New Year period.
Heavy traffic on the Causeway in a photo taken in 2017. Traffic conditions are likely to build up over the Chinese New Year period.PHOTO: BH FILE

SINGAPORE - Motorists can expect long queues at the Causeway over the Chinese New Year period, with some travellers reporting waits of more than three hours to clear customs on Friday (Feb 1).

Traffic conditions are likely to build up even more in the coming days.

Designer Mr Kelvin Tan, 30, who drove his family to Johor Baru on Friday evening to visit relatives, told The Straits Times: "We left after 8pm but we were stuck in a bad traffic jam for almost four hours. It was so packed, everything came to a standstill."

Madam Sarah Ong was also unprepared for such a massive jam as she left her home in Singapore at 5am on Saturday. "I expected that there would be a slight delay with the traffic, but I did not expect to wait more than three hours to cross the Causeway and clear customs even in the early hours."

With many Malaysian workers heading home for the holiday period, some set off early to avoid the rush but the congestion was so bad that some bus passengers reportedly decided to alight and walk across the kilometre-long Causeway instead.

However, according to traffic information posted online at 6pm on Saturday, the customs clearance time from the Causeway checkpoint to the Malaysian checkpoint was estimated to be 45 minutes.

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said that it had opened all departure counters in anticipation of this peak

 
 

Since Friday afternoon, the ICA has been posting hourly updates of the traffic situation at both the Tuas and Woodlands checkpoints, with most warning of heavy traffic.

However, by 6pm on Saturday, the ICA said on Facebook that the departure traffic at the two checkpoints was smooth, despite a "backflow of traffic from Malaysia at Woodlands checkpoints".