The launch of the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL)-Land between Singapore and Malaysia on 29 Nov was greeted with much joy, especially for Malaysians working here.
However, some might not know that since the border closed, the Causeway itself started operating for only 12 hours a day.
As such, drivers transporting products between the countries would’ve faced jams as they rush to finish their deliveries during the window.
Thankfully, the Causeway’s operating hours will be extended to 18 hours daily after the VTL-Land is launched.
The move is expected to ease transport congestion.
The good news was revealed in a Facebook post on Friday (26 Nov) by Malaysia’s Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong.
The new operating hours will be from 7-1am daily – 18 hours in total.
The current operating hours are 7am to 7pm – meaning the Causeway’s closed the entire night.
This has been the case since Apr 2020, after Malaysia started its very 1st lockdown to stem rising Covid-19 cases. Many Singaporeans may recall that we also started our ‘Circuit Breaker’ on 7 Apr 2020.
Before the border closure, the Causeway was the busiest international land border crossing in the world.
Dr Wee also said the new operating hours will commence from 29 Nov.
That’s the day that the VTL (Land) will be launched by the prime ministers of both countries at the Causeway.
The decision was agreed upon by both Singapore and Malaysia after discussions between both sides.
Though human traffic may have all but stopped, the transporting of essential products still goes on every day across the Causeway.
Dr Wee said he understood that the current 12-hour operations have caused “severe congestion” for lorry operators, trailers and logistics companies who go back and forth between the countries daily.
He thus hopes that the extended hours will ease their movements.
This will also help his country’s transportation sector and other economic activities recover.
The ease in congestion may also be a good thing for those taking the VTL, as they’d be able to get home more quickly.
Dr Wee relayed the good news to Malaysian lorry and logistics operators via an online meeting on Thursday (25 Nov).
It’s good to know that the reopening of our border with Malaysia is gathering pace with the extension of operating hours.
Though Singaporeans still can’t enter Johor Baru for day trips yet, it should just be a matter of time.
Hopefully the full opening of the border to human traffic will come soon. We can’t wait to see the Causeway restored to its former bustling glory.
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Featured image adapted from Twitter.
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