SINGAPORE: Bus tickets are still available for the first 30 days of travel through the upcoming land vaccinated travel lane (VTL) between Singapore and Malaysia, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) in a press release on Thursday night (Nov 25).
This comes after travellers experienced long waits and ticketing issues when the bookings opened at 8am on Thursday.
Earlier in the morning, a message on the Transtar Travel website – one of two bus operators designated to serve the land VTL – had said tickets for the next 30 days were sold out at about 8.20am, less than half an hour after bookings opened.
Subsequent checks on the Transtar site later said it was experiencing extreme high traffic as well as undergoing “emergency maintenance”. CNA was able to purchase a ticket at about 1pm, after waiting for about three hours in a virtual waiting room.
In the press release on Thursday night, MTI said that more than 90 per cent of Transtar Travel tickets to Singapore and 70 per cent of tickets to Malaysia were still available as of 4pm.
LAND VTL TICKETS AND VTP APPLICATIONS
Transtar had sold about 4,400 land VTL bus tickets across a 30-day timeframe as of 4pm, MTI said.
“About three-quarters of the tickets are for trips from Singapore to Malaysia, and the remaining one-quarter for trips from Malaysia to Singapore,” the ministry added.
The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) received a total of 240 Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP) applications for land VTL as of 3pm, the Trade and Industry Ministry said.
“Demand for the land VTL bus tickets and the volume of VTP applications are likely to remain high, and processes will continue to be refined,” MTI said.
“We seek travellers’ understanding and patience, if there are any delays in the systems.”
MTI added that Singapore and Malaysia will “progressively expand the land VTL in a safe and calibrated manner”.
“All travellers should purchase their bus tickets and ensure that they have the necessary documents ready, before they board the designated VTL buses,” it added.
Malaysia and Singapore’s land VTL via the Causeway will start on Nov 29.
As part of the first phase of the land VTL, travellers will need to use designated VTL bus services. Travellers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 and be citizens, permanent residents or long-term pass holders of the country they are entering.
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.
The daily quota for the land VTL scheme will be about 2,880 travellers in total, with 1,440 passengers each way.