Automated lanes increase immigration clearance rates at Woodlands Checkpoint bus halls by 20% at peak times: ICA
SINGAPORE: Automated lanes at Woodlands Checkpoint's bus halls have increased the number of people who can clear immigration per hour by 20 per cent during peak departure periods.
Compared with 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) now clears about 1,000 more bus travellers per hour through Woodlands Checkpoint during the evening departure peak period.
About 242,000 travellers pass through Woodlands Checkpoint daily, of which about 100,000 travellers clear immigration at the bus halls, said ICA on Saturday (May 27).
In January, the Automated Clearance Initiative was extended to land checkpoints. This allows passport holders from 51 jurisdictions, including Malaysia, to use automated lanes even if it is their first time visiting Singapore.
"There is no need for prior or separate enrolment as it is done seamlessly and simultaneously when travellers present themselves at the automated lanes," said ICA.
Speaking to reporters on Saturday morning, Commander Woodlands Senior Assistant Commissioner Colin Tan said there are plans to add more automated lanes in the future.
Automated lanes at Woodlands Checkpoint's bus halls have increased the number of people who can clear immigration per hour by 20 per cent during peak departure periods. Tan Si Hui with more.
“We have also been working with our partners to increase bus frequencies during peak periods. We are also working on improving our queue systems at the bus bays to improve the bus throughput,” he added.
ICA will announce plans in the next few weeks about improvements to motorcycle immigration lanes and automated clearance for those departing or arriving by train.
The bus halls at Woodlands Checkpoint currently have 68 automated lanes and seven manual lanes. Of the 68 automated lanes, 28 are bi-directional, which means they can be adjusted to account for crowds departing or arriving.
Earlier this month, ICA announced that travellers crossing Singapore's land checkpoints in cars will be able to clear immigration with QR codes instead of their passports from early 2024.
This will be rolled out at all counters for cars at Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints.
Dedicated lanes for automated in-car clearance using QR codes will then open at Tuas Checkpoint from 2026, followed by the redeveloped Woodlands Checkpoint from 2028.
“We are mindful that in 2050 we project that there will be an increase of up to 40 per cent (in) traveller volume. For these reasons, ICA aims to continue to leverage technology, automate our processes and find ways to reduce our reliance on manpower,” said SAC Tan.
“We are also expanding Woodlands Checkpoint to take in greater volumes of travellers. With the new Woodlands Checkpoint, we will be able to reduce travel time from one hour to 15 minutes.”