S’poreans head to Johor on expanded land VTL to reunite with households

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SINGAPORE – Ms Piang Lee San final week queued on-line for about eight hours to get bus tickets to Johor for her household for Monday (Dec 20), the primary day of an expanded land Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme between Singapore and Malaysia.

The household of 5 had been amongst some Singaporeans who made the journey on Monday.

Ms Piang, 40, a housewife, and her husband, Mr Pang Yee Hau, 42, are making a shock go to to Mr Pang’s mother and father in Melaka, in what will likely be their first reunion for the reason that Covid-19 pandemic began.

“My children were very excited, they kept asking me if I have managed to buy the tickets already,” stated Ms Piang, who has two daughters and one son, aged between seven and 12.

She is a Singapore citizen, whereas her husband is a Malaysia citizen.

Under the expanded land VTL scheme, vaccinated Singapore residents can now enter Malaysia by way of the Causeway with out serving quarantine. The identical association goes for vaccinated Malaysians getting into Singapore by way of the Causeway.

Previously, solely residents, everlasting residents and long-term move holders of the nation they’re getting into can journey by way of the land VTL.

According to the 2 bus operators beneath the VTL scheme, Transtar and Causeway Link, they’re now allowed to promote 50 per cent extra tickets consistent with the expanded scheme. This signifies that as much as 4,320 folks can journey between Singapore and Johor day by day with out having to quarantine, ought to all tickets be bought.

When The Straits Times visited the Transtar bus station at Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange and the Causeway Link station in Queen Street on Monday morning, lengthy however orderly queues for the VTL buses had been noticed at each locations.

Most passengers had been carrying folders with stacks of documentation as proof that they’ve met the assorted VTL necessities, resembling a detrimental Covid-19 pre-departure check.

There had been solo travellers, {couples}, in addition to these travelling with younger youngsters.

Transtar Travel managing director Elson Yap stated that about 80 to 90 per cent of the passengers going into Johor are non-Singaporeans. Singaporeans who’ve purchased tickets to enter are largely those that have members of the family there.

Only a small variety of individuals are going there for leisure, he added.

On the demand for the tickets, he stated all extra tickets launched on Dec 17 for journey into Johor have been bought out. But solely 20 per cent of the extra return tickets for Monday have been bought, doubtless attributable to folks not returning to Singapore but.

Singaporean travellers who spoke to The Straits Times stated they had been getting into Malaysia to go to their members of the family there.

Mr Awaluddin Masnor, 51, a papermaker, stated he was joyful to have the ability to go to his household in Johor for the primary time since November final yr. His spouse and 4 youngsters are Malaysians, and have been staying there.

“This is the longest time that I have been separated from my family,” he stated.

“I had actually bought a VTL flight ticket to Kuala Lumpur today, but I realised that travelling by the land VTL will be cheaper than the costs of the Covid-19 swab tests required for air travel.”

Ms Tan Hui Lin, 44, is happy as she is going to get to see her mother and father in Yong Peng, Johor, after being aside for over a yr. The course of engineer stated through the two weeks house, she will even be serving to to take care of her father, who had simply undergone an operation.

She stated: “My father is being discharged today. I’m going to Johor to take care of him. He cannot walk right now, so we will probably just order food from Grab and have dinner at home.”

Ms Tan believes that the enlargement of the VTL will profit many Singaporeans and Malaysians.

“I think expanding the VTL is good for everyone… One air VTL ticket is around $400 to $500. The land VTL is much cheaper than the air VTL so this means more people can afford to go back.”

Another traveller, a trainer who solely needed to be named as Ms Sivaneswary, 40, stated she is returning to Selangor to go to household. She was together with her husband, additionally 40, and their daughter, 9.

She was initially involved concerning the journey, given the extreme flooding state of affairs that’s presently affecting components of Malaysia.

“I was worried, but we’ve spoken to our family members staying there and they said the area is safe and unaffected,” she stated.

She added that she had been ready for the VTL to be expanded to incorporate Singaporeans going to Malaysia, however was unsure if it might be applied in time.

She stated: “I was just scared that it would reopen very near to the reopening of school. Since the expansion started today on Dec 20, it’s still a good time for us to go visit.”

Another Singaporean household travelling to Malaysia to go to relations was that of Mr Kohr Boon Hong, 48, who was accompanied by his spouse Lee Chooi Ting, 48, his son Jayden, 16, and daughter Gladys, 22.

“We’re very excited to go back. We’ve waited a long time, so we took the very first chance to travel to Malaysia again,” stated the auditor, who final visited his household in December 2019.

He added: “We’re planning to go to a restaurant to have a reunion dinner with our family there.”

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