Singaporeans make plans to travel to Johor as bus operators brace themselves for surge in demand

SINGAPORE – Swimming instructor and sports academy owner Jason Lin, 47, had been curious about cycling in Malaysia ever since he took the sport seriously during the pandemic.

He had heard positive reviews from fellow cyclists about how they could get close to nature, taste good food and explore different landscapes during their bike rides before the border closures.

“I want to explore new places in Malaysia rather than just cycling around our concrete island,” says Lin, who founded the 550-member SG RTI Cyclists Facebook group.

He is now planning a bike ride to Johor with eight other cyclists in April.

Lin is one of the many Singaporeans who want to head north for leisure and sports when border restrictions between Singapore and Malaysia are largely lifted next month.

Some are looking forward to eating Malaysian food again, while others want to take advantage of the favorable exchange rate.

The two bus operators currently operating the vaccinated bus lines between Singapore and Malaysia said they expect high demand for cross-border bus services when border restrictions are eased from next month.

A spokesman for Causeway Link said the company is ready to recruit more drivers. The company is also considering raising fares, but this must be approved by the authorities.

Transtar Travel’s CEO Elson Yap said: “We have not heard anything from the regulators yet, but we are ready to hire up to 50 percent more drivers and adapt travel accordingly.”

From 1 April, those who are fully vaccinated will be able to travel freely between the two countries by road without testing or quarantine. There will be no more tests before departure or on arrival, a policy change that will significantly reduce the costs and inconvenience for travelers.

The arrangement will apply to all categories of travelers and all modes of transport via the land border, including cross-border public buses such as. service 170 which is gradually restored.

Before Covid-19 struck, 415,000 people crossed the Woodlands Causeway and Tuas Second Link daily.

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