Long Queue At JB Customs On 17 Apr
Last Sunday, a long queue formed outside the Johor Baru (JB) customs complex, consisting of people returning to Singapore.
Thus, similar queues wouldn’t be much of a surprise this Sunday (17 Apr).
However, considering it’s the last day of a long weekend, the queue was triple-boosted, folding in on itself twice.
There were so many people that they spilt over onto the road, possibly posing a danger to themselves and road users.
Hordes who left Singapore must come back
Before the Good Friday long weekend, travellers were warned of heavy traffic across the Singapore-Malaysia land borders.
However, hordes of people decided to make the trip anyway, resulting in long queues before the Woodlands Checkpoint on Thursday and Friday.
Well, what goes out must come back, and so it proved when all these people who left Singapore at the beginning of the long weekend started returning on Sunday (17 Apr).
Queue in JB starts early
Perhaps many like-minded people decided on an earlier start to get ahead of the crowds, so the queue in JB started in the morning this time around.
According to photos and videos shared on the Malaysia-Singapore Border Crossers Facebook group, crowds formed in JB’s Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex at 11.37am on Sunday.
As morning turned to afternoon, the bus station in the basement was packed shoulder-to-shoulder with people at 12.30pm.
A traveller described the 12.30pm crowd as “overwhelming”, but staff and officers did their best to keep people moving efficiently.
He also praised auxiliary police officers for escorting a pregnant woman onto a bus.
However, he questioned why one escalator wasn’t working, slowing down the flow of people.
The scene in the hall with all the immigration counters was no different, with winding queues observed.
Crowd picks up in the afternoon
However, this was likely just the first wave, with the crowd picking up in the afternoon.
At 1.52pm, snaking queues were seen in the JB Sentral bus station, a terminal for people taking buses from all over Johor to alight en route to JB customs.
Meanwhile, the familiar roadside queue – previously seen last Sunday – had started and was at a considerable length by 2.56pm. However, a netizen advised that those with children or elderly people could jump the queue and enter from the link bridge.
By 3.10pm, the line had stretched as far as the eye could see.
Soon, the queue got too long and folded back on itself, with the second stretch running parallel to the first.
At 3.58pm, the queue folded back on itself again, meaning those who joined had to endure three stretches.
At 4pm, the sky started going dark, threatening to rain and drench the unfortunate queuers. It was also quite evident that people were queueing directly on the road and the pavement.
At 4.10pm, the entire stretch of the road facing the Komtar JBCC mall had been turned into an unofficial queueing zone.
A video taken by a driver at 4.25pm showed queuers forced to spill over dangerously onto the left lane of the major thoroughfare.
Even after surviving the long queue outside, more lines awaited travellers when they got inside the CIQ building.
Queue disappears by 5.30pm
Thankfully, though the queue was long and perilous, it moved pretty fast. By 5.39pm, it had disappeared without a trace, according to an image shared on Facebook.
Kudos to the officials for managing to speed up the process and the queuers for remaining orderly.
Hope situation can be improved
Last Sunday, Johor’s Chief Minister said that the system would be improved to avoid a similar jam.
However, the queue today was unfortunately even longer than last week’s.
While that could be attributed to the surge in border crossers at the end of the long weekend, such a situation could’ve been anticipated.
Nobody should have to risk their lives by queueing on the road just to enter Singapore, so we hope the situation will be improved in future, and no more dangerous queues will be seen.
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