BatamFast Launches Daily Singapore-Batam Ferry Rides From 18 Feb
Since last year, Singapore has established Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs) with numerous countries around the globe.
In anticipation of our first sea VTL, Singapore-Batam ferry rides look to be resuming after a long hiatus.
Ferry operator BatamFast will have 1 ferry departing from Tanah Merah to Nongsapura Ferry Terminal daily starting from 18 Feb.
Although this is excellent news for those looking for a short getaway, ferry ticket prices have risen. Round-trip tickets are now $80, a $30 increase from pre-Covid times.
Daily Singapore-Batam ferry from Tanah Merah to Nongsapura
BatamFast passenger operations manager Mr Chua Chun Leng confirmed that the operator would be running 1 ferry ride from Singapore to Batam daily from 18 Feb, reported Shin Min Daily News.
The ferry will be departing from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and arriving at Nongsapura Ferry Terminal.
As of now, the ferry details have not been released on the BatamFast website at the time of writing.
There are currently tickets available from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to Batam Center. These round-trip tickets amount to about $86 each.
However, Indonesian authorities previously said the only entry point for Singapore travellers to Batam via the upcoming VTL will be Nongsapura Ferry Terminal.
Price increase due to rising operating costs
Speaking to Shin Min Daily News, Mr Chua said although Singapore authorities have yet to announce the sea VTL, the outlook is optimistic from their communications.
On Sunday (13 Feb), BatamFast had been given approval from authorities to resume ferry operations with up to 14 trips a week.
The operator then decided to begin with 1 trip daily and evaluate the situation.
Each round-trip ticket from Singapore to Batam will cost $80, up from the $50 during pre-Covid times.
Addressing price increase, Mr Chua said the ferry operator had seen a sharp rise in operating costs. This is due to staff having to live in the Nongsapura travel bubble area as well as Covid-19 tests.
As a result, they have to adjust ferry ticket prices accordingly.
2 other ferry operators, namely Sindo Ferry and Bintan Resort Ferries, have no plans to start ferry rides to Batam as of now.
Testing requirements still stand
Although Singapore currently has a VTL arrangement with Indonesia, this has not been extended to travel by sea.
As it stands, Indonesian authorities announced their intentions to launch a travel bubble for Singapore visitors to Bintan and Batam on 24 Jan.
To be eligible for the travel bubble, travellers must fulfil the following requirements:
- stayed at least 14 days in Singapore before arrival
- be vaccinated twice
- have a negative PCR test within 3 days before departing
- take a PCR test upon arrival
- have a holiday insurance package worth S$30,000
- use Indonesia’s Covid-19 tracing programme PeduliLindungi and Blue Pass
According to Shin Min Daily News, a PCR test in Batam currently will cost about S$30.
But as long as Singapore has not announced a VTL by sea with Indonesia, travellers would be subjected to a PCR test or a supervised ART 2 days before their return.
Upon their return, travellers will have to undergo a 7-day quarantine and take a PCR test before it ends.
Hope for a quarantine-free VTL soon
Although Singapore authorities have not announced a travel bubble with Indonesia, PM Lee expressed on 25 Jan that they are trying to expedite discussions with Indonesia.
The launch of ferry rides is hopefully a sign that things are now in motion, and we will soon hear about a quarantine-free sea VTL with Batam and Bintan.
Hopefully, with that, short getaways to these nearby islands will soon be possible again.
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Featured image adapted from BatamFast.