Traffic at S'pore-Malaysia land borders lighter than expected after long weekend

Traffic condition at the Causeway at around 8pm on May 3, 2022. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY
Travellers returning from Malaysia are seen at the Woodlands checkpoint around 6.30pm on May 3, 2022. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - Traffic at Singapore's land border checkpoints was lighter than expected despite warnings by the authorities of congestion at the end of the first long weekend in May.

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) had advised travellers on Sunday (May 1) to avoid returning to Singapore during the peak hours of between 8am on Tuesday and 1am on Wednesday as traffic was expected to be heavy.

Those arriving from Malaysia at the Woodlands Checkpoint told The Straits Times on Tuesday evening that they had cleared immigration within 20 to 45 minutes.

Ms Nisya Sya, 40, who celebrated Hari Raya Puasa with her 10-year-old son, husband and relatives in Pasir Gudang in Johor Bahru for the first time in about two years, said she was surprised by the lack of a jam after staying for as long as possible in Malaysia.

"I spent the whole of Monday meeting and eating with my three siblings and my husband's family. We haven't gathered like this in two years," said the Malaysian who has been commuting daily via the Causeway to work in a food company in Singapore since land borders between the two countries fully reopened last month.

She added: "Having worked in Singapore for the past nine years, clearing immigration in half an hour is quite comfortable.

"During pre-pandemic times, I could get stuck in traffic for up to three hours."

Secondary 3 student Chevonne Tee, 15, arrived in Singapore close to 8pm. She has to attend school here on Wednesday.

She said: "My mother was worried that there would be a jam, so I left Johor Bahru later than my father, who arrived in Singapore at 3.45pm for work.

"But it was quite fast to get across. It took me only about 45 minutes."

ICA said last Wednesday it expected more people to cross the land checkpoints in the past weekend than the 436,800 travellers who passed through during the Good Friday weekend that started on April 15.

Close to 280,000 travellers left Singapore for Malaysia via the land borders last Friday (April 29) and Saturday, according to ICA.

Remote video URL

The past weekend's surge in traffic came ahead of Labour Day on Sunday, making Monday a public holiday, and Hari Raya Puasa on Tuesday.

ICA had said then that it would take the necessary measures to facilitate efficient immigration clearance without compromising on security.

It had advised travellers to factor in additional time for immigration clearance and monitor the traffic situation at the land checkpoints.

When ST arrived at Woodlands Checkpoint on Tuesday evening, traffic flowed smoothly between 6pm and 8pm. Three police officers were seen directing a stream of private-hire cars and taxis at the taxi stand.

Since April 1, fully vaccinated travellers have been able to travel freely between Singapore and Malaysia by land, including by driving, without testing or quarantine.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.