SINGAPORE - More than 1.2 million travellers have crossed the land borders between Singapore and Malaysia since they reopened fully on April 1.
The number is expected to increase significantly in the coming days, as more travellers head to Johor to spend the long Good Friday weekend.
The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said that as at 5pm on Thursday (April 14), 662,900 people have departed Singapore via the Causeway and the Second Link.
Of these travellers, 229,800 departed on foot or buses, 232,800 in cars and the remaining 200,300 on motorcycles.
Meanwhile, 601,700 people have arrived in Singapore via the land borders so far, with 208,500 coming on foot or buses, 207,800 in cars and 185,400 on motorcycles.
According to figures provided by ICA, the number of travellers via the land borders have been picking up.
The number of travellers passing through the land checkpoints between last Friday (April 8) and Sunday was about 62 per cent more than what it was the week before.
About 415,000 used the Causeway and the Second Link daily before the pandemic. The Causeway was one of the world's busiest land crossings.
While the current volume of travellers are still much lower than pre-pandemic levels, a sense of normality has been restored to the two land checkpoints in the past two weeks.
Many Malaysian workers have returned to commuting daily to Singapore. Some Singaporeans have also returned to Johor for short getaways.
When The Straits Times visited the Woodlands Train Checkpoint building on Thursday evening, a long queue of travellers stretching far beyond the building had formed by 6.30pm.
Train services between Singapore and Malaysia are yet to resume. But those looking to head to Johor either by foot or via shuttle buses across the Causeway have to pass through the train checkpoint building to get to the immigration clearance hall.
ICA has said that it will remove a requirement for Singapore residents and long-term pass holders to fill in the SG Arrival Card when they arrive in the country from Friday.
But while this will speed up the immigration clearance process for those arriving in Singapore, it will not have an impact in terms of speeding up clearance for departures.
ICA officers told ST they have been working hard to prepare for the resumption of mass travel at the land borders between Singapore and Johor.
Deputy Superintendent Ramaya Jeeva, an assistant commander at Woodlands Checkpoint, said the officers deployed there have been regularly going through drills to ensure smooth operations.
He noted that ICA now has a total of 29 automated immigration counters to process travellers departing Singapore. Nine of these counters are new bidirectional counters that can be configured to serve arriving travellers if needed.
To speed up immigration clearance, ICA has also worked together with other agencies such as the Ministry of Health to verify a traveller's Covid-19 vaccination status automatically.
DSP Ramaya said he expects traveller volumes during this long weekend to reach 80 per cent of the volumes prior to the pandemic.
"Travellers should factor in additional time for immigration clearance. If possible, they should plan their journeys so as to avoid the peak periods such as Thursday evening (for departures) and Sunday afternoon (for arrivals)," he added.
Security field supervisor Sergeant Nur Azilah Mohamad Yazid said the human traffic passing through Woodlands Checkpoint in the last two weeks has been similar to that before the pandemic.
But vehicular traffic remains visibly lower than pre-pandemic levels, with many Malaysian motorists still waiting for their vehicle entry permits.
"It is nice to see all the traffic being back," she added. "It is slowly becoming what I am used to seeing before the pandemic."