430,000 travellers expected daily at land checkpoints over festive period: ICA

Heavy traffic is expected at land checkpoints over the peak festive period from Feb 4 to 14.
Heavy traffic is expected at land checkpoints over the peak festive period from Feb 4 to 14. PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - About 430,000 travellers are expected to use the Tuas and Woodlands checkpoints daily over the upcoming festive peak period, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority of Singapore (ICA) has announced.

In a travel advisory issued on Tuesday (Jan 26), it urged travellers heading to Malaysia for the Chinese New Year holiday to plan their trips carefully and expect delays.

The first day of Chinese New Year falls on Feb 8.

Traffic volume at both checkpoints is anticipated to build up from Feb 4 and continue till Feb 14, ICA added.

Travellers can expect heavy departure traffic from Feb 4 to 7, while arrival traffic is anticipated to be particularly heavy between Feb 9 and 14.

ICA also warned that security checks, which remain its top priority to prevent potential threats to Singapore, mean that traffic build-up is inevitable.

Travellers should adjust their travel plans if possible to avoid a surge of people and vehicles seeking clearance at both checkpoints.

Motorists are advised to check on the traffic situation at either checkpoint before embarking on their journey, so as to help ease congestion.

Useful tips when using the checkpoints:

  • Travellers are encouraged to car-pool where possible;
  • Drivers should maintain lane discipline at all times;
  • Eligible users (Singaporeans, Singapore Permanent Residents and Long Term Pass holders) are encouraged to use the enhanced Immigration Automated Clearance System (eIACS) lanes at the bus halls for immigration clearance;
  • Travellers are to ensure that they are carrying their own and valid passports before presenting them for immigration clearance at the checkpoints;
  • Travellers are to make sure that they do not bring unlawful or prohibited goods into or out of Singapore. The list of controlled and prohibited items can be found on ICA's website.

Last month, there were reports of massive traffic jams on the Causeway as travellers flocked to Malaysia during the school holidays.

Wait times stretched to as long as five hours, according to various media reports, with the number of travellers increasing from 400,000 to 430,000 a day.

It prompted Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam to visit the checkpoint on Dec 19, after which he assured travellers that the ICA had stepped up the manning of the checkpoint to cope with the increased traffic.