Singapore-Malaysia land VTL to open on Nov 29

From Monday, up to 1,440 Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders in Malaysia will be able to cross the Causeway into Singapore each day using designated bus services, without the need for quarantine.

Similarly, up to 1,440 Malaysian citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders in Singapore will also be able to go back home, as part of the initial phase of a much-anticipated land vaccinated travel lane (VTL) between the two countries.

The hotly anticipated arrangement comes after almost 20 months of border restrictions.

The trip from Singapore will cost $15 for adults and $8 for children, while bus tickets from Malaysia will cost RM20 ($6.50) for adults and RM10 for children.

There will be 64 daily VTL bus trips between Malaysia and Singapore, 32 in each direction, with a maximum of 45 seated passengers a trip.

Travellers scrambled to get bus tickets to Johor Baru on Thursday, the first day tickets went on sale.

Tickets were sold out within about 20 minutes for one of the two bus service operators.

Checks on websites of the two service providers between Singapore and Malaysia at 8am, when the tickets were released for sale, showed that virtual waiting rooms had been created to deal with high volumes of traffic.

Both websites did not appear to be able to keep up with the demand, as some users reported issues accessing the booking system.

On Singapore bus company Transtar Travel's website, a notice stated that users were placed in a virtual waiting room because of "high user volume".

Passengers had 15 minutes to book tickets and could select up to five slots per trip. At 8.23am, all tickets for the next 30 days were sold out.

The website was updated later to say that users will be let in to the bus ticket portal when slots are available.

The queue in the virtual waiting room on the website of Malaysia bus company Handal Indah extended to more than 10,000 people.

Users were informed that they had 10 minutes to enter the website and the number of users in line ahead of them.

Some users were booted out before entering the website or making payment.

At 10.27am, the Malaysia website was inaccessible.

On Facebook, Handal Indah, also known as Causeway Link, said that only tickets from next Monday to Dec 5 will be available for now. It did not indicate when the next batch of tickets can be booked.

The authorities, however, had said on Wednesday that tickets would be released for sale 30 days ahead and must be booked three days before the date of departure.

The Straits Times


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