Crowds throng Johor Bahru amid S'pore and Malaysian schools' week-long break

ICA said travellers should adjust their travel plans to avoid being caught in traffic congestion. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - Many Singaporeans and Malaysians took advantage of the week-long school holidays on both sides of the Causeway to visit Johor Bahru this past weekend.

Large crowds thronged the Malaysian city, with several areas experiencing traffic congestion as people made a beeline for popular food outlets, said Malaysian English-language newspaper The Star on Sunday.

Ms Alice Chan, the owner of a hotel in Johor Bahru, said at least 80 per cent of its rooms were occupied, according to The Star.

She told the newspaper that the hotel has been busy almost all weekends since the reopening of the Singapore-Malaysia land border in April.

Ms Chan said crowds over this past weekend have been larger than usual due to the school holidays on both sides of the Causeway.

"Apart from Singaporean visitors, we are also getting travellers from other states, such as Sabah and Sarawak," she said.

Singapore's school holidays from Sept 2 to Sept 11 coincide with Malaysian schools' week-long break, which ends on Sept 10 or 11, varying by state.

Last Wednesday, Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said delays are expected on the Causeway or Second Link to Malaysia during the school holidays, as the volume of road traffic moving across the Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints is gradually returning to pre-Covid-19 levels.

ICA also said travellers should be prepared to experience heavy traffic and adjust their travel plans to avoid being caught in traffic congestion.

More than 313,000 people were recorded passing through the Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints each day over the weekend of Aug 26 to 28, according to Singapore's ICA.

This surpassed the 302,000 travellers recorded on National Day and the 278,000 who crossed daily during the June school holidays.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020, about 415,000 people passed through the Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints each day.

Crowds over this past weekend have been larger than usual due to the school holidays on both sides of the Causeway. PHOTO: THE STAR/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Malaysian dentist Afeeqah Abdul Majeed is preparing for her journey home to Johor Bahru from Singapore on Monday, and she is expecting heavy traffic on the Causeway.

Ms Afeeqah, 28, who is in Singapore visiting family, said: "I usually arrive home in Johor Bahru in less than two hours by bus, but I am mentally preparing that clearing immigration will take three to four hours.

"So, I'll make sure I charge my phone and bring a portable charger because I need to remain contactable."

Ms Afeeqah and her two younger brothers spent the past two days in Singapore visiting their parents, who work here. The siblings visit them thrice a month.

Her youngest brother, Mr Umran Abdul Majeed, 25, a university student, said he is not too worried about the delays because he believes timing is everything.

He said: "I use this mobile app called Beat the Jam to track the peak of the traffic jam, especially during school holidays.

"Although we cannot predict what will happen, it is a good gauge... And we usually travel very early in the morning or very late at night, after 10pm or midnight."

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