S'pore-M'sia VTL: First 2 buses from JB arrive in S'pore with only 4 passengers

VTL appears underutilised.

Belmont Lay | November 29, 2021, 12:51 PM

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A grand total of four people arrived in Singapore from Malaysia on the first two buses that made the voyage here under the land Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) on Monday morning, Nov. 29, The Straits Times reported.

The first bus arrived at Queen Street Bus Terminal here at 9.48am with three people.

It was delayed, according to ST, which also reported that four persons had boarded the bus but one was denied access and could not complete the journey as his name was not registered with Johor Bahru customs.

The second bus that arrived in Singapore at 9.51am carried only one single passenger.

He said his bus departed from Larkin Sentral Bus Terminal in Johor Baru at 7.30am after he waited inside for 45 minutes.

Two of the four passengers interviewed said they were back in Malaysia for short visits to see family and utilised the VTL to come back to Singapore again.

Tickets reportedly sold out

The arrival of only a handful of passengers from JB is baffling as it was previously reported that tickets for the land VTL travelling either way were sold out or unavailable promptly right after the tickets launched.

Tickets are only offered by two bus operators — Transtar Travel and Handal Indah — and they went on sale on Nov. 25 at 8am.

CNA reported that more than 12,000 users were waiting for their turn in a virtual waiting room within 15 minutes of virtual queuing for tickets at 8am to buy tickets to come to Singapore.

VTL prioritises citizens, PRs and workers

Up to 1,440 Singapore citizens, permanent residents and Singapore long-term pass holders can cross the Causeway into Singapore each day via the VTL.

The land VTL currently prioritises workers in Singapore or Malaysia who have not gone home since the land border was shut in March 2020.

Upon arrival, they will no longer have to serve quarantine.

This is a different arrangement to those returning home via the Periodic Commuting Arrangement, which requires a seven-day quarantine at designated facilities or hotels upon arrival in Malaysia or Singapore.

Those who utilise the VTL only need to take two Covid-19 tests before entering either Singapore or Malaysia.

What happens upon arrival via VTL

Passengers are held at a cordoned-off area after they alight from the buses.

They will take an antigen rapid test at a temporary swabbing centre.

Those who test positive for Covid-19 have to take a confirmatory PCR test at the centre.

Top photo via Mothership.sg

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