Woodlands or Tuas
Regret not going to Woodlands. Held up on Malaysian side of Tuas. 😅 pic.twitter.com/ehOeRNVzLe— Kai Hendry (@kaihendry) February 6, 2016
So since we didn't make travel arrangements in advance for CNY, I drove to KL from Singapore on the 6th of February 2016 and returned on the 9th. It was hell on earth.
The main issue was the land border crossing. I knew this would be a problem, but I wrongly heaped the blame on Singapore's ICA in this video.
Though my request still stands, there needs to be some metric for which border crossings can be judged, so bottle necks & delays can be identified and resolved.
Issues crossing from Singapore at Tuas (aka second link)
It shouldn't be a surprise at all that the Singapore side was fast & efficient letting cars through to Malaysia. So when once we crossed the causeway we were in a massive 3 lane queue to Malaysia's checkpoint. There were a number of issues:
- the two right most lanes were moving the slowest
- the left lane and emergency lane (also the domain of buses) were moving fastest
- at times the lanes were unclear
- it got so hot and there are zero facilities
- we inched for 3 hours
- emergency lane was constantly abused and not enforced leading to temperatures rising
- when we got to the Malaysian booths only a fraction of them were operating
- some of them were operating more in the left lanes instead of the right ones
- this explains a lot why some lanes were moving so slowly compared to others!
I had the feeling after getting our documents checked finally that the Malaysians authorities just didn't care. Our Malaysian immigration officer asked how long we waited; We replied three hours. And she was sympathetic.. "yes, this is Chinese New Year". I refrained from blurting back, why not better manage this fiasco by treating lanes equally and getting more staff on duty!?
I could have crossed at Woodlands instead of Tuas, but I had no idea in advance which Malaysian side was processing cars quicker. Again it would be awesome if there some API to measure the progress. If I was going to do the Tuas crossing again, I would almost definitely use the left most or emergency lane since it was flowing, unlike the middle lane I was stuck in.
Issues crossing from Johor to Singapore
Sadly the second day of CNY on Malaysia roads down from KL were not as uncongested as I was hoping. http://plus.com.my/ administer the toll roads and do provide some real time information about congestion, but since there is basically just one road, you can't really act on this information. If there was some historical information, I could have maybe made alternative plans not to drive down when I did!
The main screw up was actually Google maps as we approached the junction between Woodlands or Tuas. At first it recommends Tuas and then recommended Woodlands. I think it does this on the basis of the red line congestion on the roads.
We heeded its advice and went to Johor Bahru, but the Woodlands entrance was completely jammed. We couldn't even enter the queue!! Google maps was reporting an orange line for a queue that simply was not moving. So we wasted at least an hour and ending up turning back to Tuas!! To make matters worse when we navigated to Tuas Checkpoint, Google Maps redirected us back to Woodlands!! We had to navigate to Tuas from the overview screen!!
At Tuas, once again the familiar jam, with confusing lanes and zero enforcement. I think it took about 2 hours of inching forward in the darkness to cross. Once again far too many stalls were unmanned.
My recommendation to the Malaysia side:
- Keep more stalls manned (tracking this would be good!)
- Keep it fair by disallowing cars from using the emergency lane
- Measure throughput
The drive each way between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur during Chinese New Year was 11 hours of pain. Don't do it. Information provided by both Singapore and Malaysia is insufficient.