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Singapore-Malaysia land VTL to be launched on Nov 29, travellers must use designated bus services

Travellers have to be citizens, permanent residents or long-term pass holders of the country that they are entering.

SINGAPORE: Singapore and Malaysia will launch a land vaccinated travel lane (VTL) via the Causeway next Monday (Nov 29), Singapore's Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said on Wednesday.

As part of the first phase of the land VTL, travellers will need to use designated VTL bus services. Travellers have to be citizens, permanent residents or long-term pass holders of the country they are entering.

This is to give priority to those who have been working in either country to visit their families, said PMO.

“Malaysia is Singapore’s closest neighbour and the two countries share deep and warm relations. The Causeway was one of the busiest land borders in the world before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted our cross-border activities," said Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

"The launch of the VTL (Land) is a big step towards reconnecting our people and economies, and will further enhance our bilateral relationship.”

The land VTL will provide the opportunity for Malaysians and Singaporeans on both sides of the Causeway who have been "separated from their families due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to be reunited with their loved ones", said Malaysia's Prime Minister's Office.

DESIGNATED BUS SERVICES

There will be 32 land VTL designated bus services entering each country per day, with a maximum capacity of 45 "fully seated" passengers per trip.

That means the daily quota for the land VTL scheme will be about 2,900 travellers in total, with 1,440 passengers each way.

The designated services will be operated by two companies. Transtar Travel will operate 32 daily designated trips - 16 trips from Malaysia and 16 trips from Singapore - between Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange in Singapore and Larkin Sentral Bus Terminal in Johor Bahru.

Handal Indah will similarly operate 32 daily trips between Larkin Sentral Bus Terminal and Queen Street Terminal in Singapore.

"Both governments have also agreed for a daily quota not exceeding 1,500 travellers at the initial stage, with weekly increments," said Putrajaya, adding that the land VTL is only limited to bus services as a "control mechanism".

Other modes of transport will be included "in stages", it added.

Bus tickets will go on sale at 8am on Thursday, and tickets will be released for sale 30 days ahead. Travellers are also required to purchase their bus tickets at least three days prior to the date of departure. 

The trip from Singapore to Malaysia will cost S$15 for adults and S$8 for children, while those travelling from Malaysia to Singapore will have to pay RM20 for adults and RM10 for children.

The bus services from Singapore to Malaysia will run from 8am to 6pm, while buses from Malaysia to Singapore will operate between 9.30am to 7.30pm.

Travellers who arrive in Singapore via other means apart from the designated bus services will be subjected to prevailing border control measures, which include serving a seven-day stay-home notice, said Singapore's PMO.

Travellers entering Singapore must have remained in Malaysia, any other VTL or Category I country or region as recognised by the Singapore Government, and/or Singapore in the last 14 consecutive days before arrival in Singapore.

Such travellers must also test negative in a valid pre-departure COVID-19 antigen rapid test (ART) or polymerase chain reaction (PCR), within two calendar days before departure for Singapore. This also applies to those who are travelling to Malaysia.

Children aged two and below in the calendar year are not required to undergo these tests.

There is no on-arrival ART requirement for those entering Singapore, while for travellers entering Malaysia, they will be required to do an additional supervised on-arrival ART at Larkin Sentral Bus Terminal after clearing immigration.

Travellers also must be fully vaccinated, and unvaccinated children aged 12 years and below must be accompanied by a vaccinated adult.

All travellers are required to submit the SG Arrival Card with Electronic Health Declaration via the ICA website or through the SG Arrival Card mobile application that can be downloaded for free.

Travellers entering Malaysia via the land VTL from Singapore need to register at https://mysafetravel.gov.my. Long-term pass holders travelling from Malaysia to Singapore are required to register at https://go.gov.sg/vtl-portal.

Registration is compulsory before tickets are purchased, said Putrajaya.

PROGRESSIVE EXPANSION OF LAND VTL

The land VTL will be also rolled out in a "safe and calibrated manner", said Singapore's PMO. 

Singapore and Malaysia aim to progressively expand the land VTL to include more travellers, including general travellers, taking into account the public health situation, added PMO.

Both countries will also work towards restoring travel through Tuas Second Link. 

"Singapore and Malaysia have a long-standing, broad and multi-faceted relationship. Our bilateral trade, investment and tourism ties are robust, and our people share a close affiliation with each other," said PMO.

"COVID-19 has disrupted the people-to-people connection and separated families in the two countries for many months."

Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong noted that the launch of the VTLs between Singapore and Malaysia will allow workers from both countries to travel home to reunite with their families after many months.

"We are starting the VTL (Land) in a safe and calibrated manner, so that we can progress smoothly. We seek the understanding of workers who may not be able to purchase a bus ticket to travel home immediately due to limited capacity in the initial phase of the launch," added Mr Gan.

"We will continue to work with Malaysia to expand the VTL (Land) arrangement to more travellers in the coming weeks."

A previously announced VTL between Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) will also begin on Nov 29.

Editor's note: Information about the bus timings in this article has been amended following a clarification from the authorities.

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Source: CNA/ic(mi/aj)

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