S'pore-Malaysia VTL: First bus arrives at Queen St with 3 passengers after delay; 1 person left at JB Customs

SINGAPORE – Four people boarded the first bus from Malaysia under the land Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) on Monday (Nov 29) morning, but only three managed to enter Singapore.

The first bus arrived at Queen Street Bus Terminal at 9.48am, after a delay.

Ms Renee Looi, who was on the first bus, told The Straits Times that one man was unable to complete the journey here as his name was not registered with the Johor Baru Customs.

Ms Looi, 29, made a trip to Johor Baru three weeks ago to visit her father before the new VTL arrangement kicked in. However, she had to first serve a week-long quarantine at a hotel there.

“I was actually planning to come back yesterday, but decided to delay it by a day since they announced the VTL and I wouldn’t have to be quarantined,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mr Alex Lee, 40, was the sole passenger on the second bus that arrived at 9.51am.

Mr Lee, who works in sales, said his bus departed from Larkin Sentral Bus Terminal in Johor Baru at 7.30am.

“There were delays at the JB customs but I’m not too sure what’s the issue. I waited inside the bus for about 45 minutes, but otherwise it’s quite smooth,” he added.

Mr Lee, who had not seen his wife and two children since March last year, went to Malaysia about two weeks ago to visit them.

He said: “My wife has to take care of our kids and there is no one to help her, so I hope to bring them over to Singapore soon. Although I can video call them, there’s no human touch.”

 Upon arrival, passengers will proceed to a cordoned-off area where they will take an antigen rapid test at a temporary swabbing centre. If travellers test positive for Covid-19, they will have to take a confirmatory PCR test at the centre.

Mr Alex Lee, who works in sales, was the sole passenger on the second bus that arrived at 9.51am. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

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Up to 1,440 Singapore citizens, permanent residents and Singapore long-term pass holders can cross the Causeway into the Republic each day on designated bus services.

The land VTL currently prioritises workers in Singapore or Malaysia who have not been able to return home since the land border was shut in March last year.

They will no longer have to serve quarantine upon arrival, unlike 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.

Instead, they will take two Covid-19 tests before entering either Singapore or Malaysia.

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