Expect longer wait times at land checkpoints during CNY peak periods: ICA

Traffic jam on the Woodlands Causeway on Oct 12, 2022. The authorities anticipate heavy traffic at the Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Those departing for Malaysia via land checkpoints from Monday to Friday should factor in additional time for immigration clearance, said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Monday.

This is as the authorities anticipate continuous heavy traffic at both the Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints, with tailbacks expected from Malaysia. This coming Sunday is the first day of Chinese New Year.

ICA said in a statement that traffic flow through the land checkpoints has returned to pre-pandemic levels during peak hours, and that during the peak of the Chinese New Year period in 2019 – before border closures owing to the Covid-19 pandemic – the average waiting time for travellers departing or arriving by car via the Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints was about three hours.

More than a million travellers passed through the checkpoints during the year-end holiday season in 2022, with about 361,000 crossing daily.

“Motorists are also reminded to avoid queue-cutting as it can cause severe congestion and compromise the safety of other motorists,” said ICA, which also urged motorists to observe traffic rules, maintain lane discipline and cooperate with officers on-site.

The authority advised motorists to check the traffic situation at both checkpoints through the Land Transport Authority’s OneMotoring website, or the Expressway Monitoring and Advisory System installed on the Bukit Timah Expressway and Ayer Rajah Expressway, before embarking on their journey.

Updates on traffic conditions will also be posted on ICA’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, and broadcast on local radio stations Money FM 89.3, Kiss92, One FM 91.3, 96.3 Hao FM and UFM 100.3.

All short-term visitors, including those with in-principle approval for a long-term pass, are required to submit their SG Arrival Card with health declaration within the three days prior to their arrival in Singapore.

Due to the high volume of traffic and daily commuting for employment and studies, Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders are exempted from submitting a health declaration if they are returning to Singapore via the land checkpoints. They will have to submit a health declaration if they enter Singapore via sea and air checkpoints.

Travellers should not bring in prohibited items such as firecrackers and bak kwa, or roasted meat, and departing travellers in Singapore-registered cars are reminded to observe the three-quarter tank rule, said ICA.

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