Thursday, December 18, 2008

congestion at new ciq complex

on tuesday morning, i drove to kluang, a town located about 100km from singapore. it provided me a chance to experience the first day of full operation at the new sultan iskandar ciq complex. when we reached the malaysian side of the causeway, my wife's friend, a malaysian exclaimed: this is the first time i have seen the check-point so clear, without a single car in any queue! she had not been aware of the shift to the new check-point at bukit chagar.

there was no need for any directional sign to point you to the new check-point. once out of the old customs complex, the road you are on will lead you to the new complex. as we were nearing the approach road to the new complex, we saw the long queues of cars and buses ahead. the buses were on the right and the cars were squeezed tightly to the left of the buses. motorcyclists use the extreme left lane.

we inched along, which is not something new. it is something we have grown quite accustomed to on both sides of the causeway. the situation at the malaysian side has been like that on most days when you are returning to singapore after 4.30 p.m. i had been through worst jam, waiting more than four hours just to get past the immigration on the malaysian side. since the tightening of security at the singapore's side in april this year, we have been resigned to long wait at the woodlands check-point.

we did not have the 'touch n go' card but there was no need to worry. staff from the toll operators were on hand to sell us the cards at rm$20 each. once out of the jam, clearing the immigration and customs was a breeze. after your passports have been duly stamped, you move forward, tap your card at the terminal and the barrier is lifted automatically. that day, the customs people did not ask to check the boot of the car.

another problem awaits you once you get out of the complex. you come to a wide and unfamiliar (new to you) road and you have to decide which side to move to. as we were heading for senai, we looked out for signs pointing us to scudai. we kept to the left and eventually ended up at a junction, where turning left will lead you to jalan wang ah fook and turning right will lead you towards danga bay. we made a right turn.

returning from kluang in the evening, we saw this message flashed on the screen near the senai toll booth: bad jam, use the 2nd link. as with the launch of any project or system, during the initial period you could expect some teething problems. so, we decided to go for the 2nd link. approaching the tuas check-point, we realised that we would be facing the same problem - two lines of vehicles stretched nearly 400m from the check-point. it took us more than half an hour to be cleared.

wonder how the situation will be like when school reopens in january 2009.


Lam Chun See said...

I faced a similar problem coming back from my recent trip to Tangkak.

Saw this sign warning of jam at JB and asking us to taking 2nd Link. At Msia side it was smooth sailing; with only 2 cars in the queue, but once we came to the bridge; the queue was past the middle of the bridge. We waited more than and hour to clear the Spore immigration. What made me extra mad was to see many cars jumping queue by taking the left heavy vehicles lane and then cutting into the queue near the check point. Also I saw some many empty/closed immigration booths at the Spore side. What a disgrace for our supposedly efficient country!

yg said...

chun see, there is nothing much we can do to stop these dastardly characters from driving ahead but we can make it difficult for these bullies to cut into our lane. when we are in a bad jam, we have to be alert and to move as a line, leaving no space for these queue jumpers to make their move. if they are on my left, i will make sure my car is as far as left as possible, right up to the point where i have to move to the right or make a turn.

Icemoon said...

That's why we cannot be civil driver all the time. By letting people cut into your queue, you're delaying the people behind you.

That aside, have you guys taken bus to JB? Don't take 170, the drivers bo ji one. Take the Sing JB Express, once the driver drove over a small road divider on the causeway. There was a sharp thud. Then he sped on, leaving the rest in the dust. I was so proud of our bus .. haha. Do 170 drivers dare to try this stunt?

nah said...

Before the opening of the new ciq complex, I have been to stulang laut on a few occasions. After checking out of the old custom complex which leads to the new complex, I marvelled at the structure and the number of booths at the new check point and told myself that travelling to JB will be a breeze once it is opened. What happened???