Last Updated on 2023-04-03 , 9:38 am
As the old Chinese poem goes: “清明时节雨纷纷，路上行人欲断魂”, or basically, as rain falls during the Qing Ming festival, people on the roads feel deep sorrow.
This poem might be particularly true this year—heavy traffic is anticipated at the Singapore-Malaysia border because of the upcoming Qing Ming festival and the long Good Friday weekend.
If you’re going to be stuck on the road, though, it’d be wise not to live out the second part of the poem of asking where to find a bar—traffic accidents have been on the rise, after all.
Severe Congestion Anticipated
According to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA), traffic flow through both the Woodlands and Tuas Checkpoints has returned to pre-COVID-19 levels, especially during peak periods.
In light of this, the ICA has predicted similar heavy traffic situations at the checkups in the lead-up to and during the Qing Ming Festival and the long Good Friday weekend, lasting through 3 April and 11 April.
Continuous tailbacks for departure traffic should also be expected.
During the Good Friday period in 2019, around 390,000 people crossed the checkpoints daily, totalling more than a million travellers across that period.
Back then, the average waiting time was about three hours.
The ICA recommends that travellers postpone non-essential travel to help ease the situation.
How To Get There Smoother
If you really need or want to go to Malaysia, the ICA also provided some tips on making your journey smoother.
Make sure to factor in extra time for crossing checkpoints, because there will be bad congestion on both the roads and at immigration clearance.
For updates on the traffic situation, motorists can tune in to local radio stations like Kiss92 or Money 89.3, or through the ICA’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. The Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) One Motoring Website can also help track traffic.
As usual, keep to etiquette while crossing the border. Make sure not to kan-cheong and overtake other people or cut the queue, because this compromises safety. It’s also good to ensure that all your travel documents are in order and your passport has a validity of six months at least, so as not to hold others up.
Everyone travelling by bus, including Malaysians, is encouraged to clear immigration via automated lanes in passenger halls—there is no separate enrolment process for using these lanes.
The ICA said that they would “continue to facilitate immigration clearance without compromising security”, so you can expect that procedures will be stringent as ever.
If reading all of this puts you off driving to Malaysia, but you’re still hoping to go, there’s another way available—the little-known shuttle train service called the Shuttle Tebrau.
Unfortunately, it’s currently the only train service that goes between Singapore and Malaysia. However, the long-rumoured JB-SG MRT line is actually being constructed (there are pictures to prove this, before you scoff and dismiss it).
A one-way trip on the shuttle on 3 April costs around 16.95 Malaysian Ringgit, or S$5.10.
It takes you from the Woodlands Checkpoint (Woodlands CIQ) to JB Sentral Station for quite a fair price, and you get to miss the jam as well.
Tickets are available here.
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