SINGAPORE – “Finally, I’m going home”. This is what Malaysians like Wan Muhammad Fazlan Nordin (picture) must have said when they managed to grab the limited bus tickets offered under the land Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme announced on Wednesday.
The land VTL scheme that starts next Monday (November 29), along with the air VTL, allows people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to travel between the two countries without the need to undergo quarantine.
Those who opt for the land VTL scheme can only travel through bus services provided by two designated bus operators – Transtar Travel Pte Ltd and Handal Indah Sdn Bhd (also known as Causeway Link) – with the tickets sold for a 30-day travel period.
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, meaning there will be 1,440 passengers each way or 2,900 in total.
Wan Muhammad Fazlan, who has yet to return to his family in Johor Bahru since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic early last year, was among the early birds who were able to get the bus tickets – which were sold off in less than 30 minutes.
Sharing his experience with Bernama, the 28-year old Human Resource Consultant said he sat in front of his laptop as early as 7am to make sure everything is ready – especially the internet connection –before ‘queuing’ online for the ticket sale that began at 8 am.
“At 7.50 am, I tried entering the Causeway Link website and saw the ‘waiting room’ notification. I decided not to wait and instead switched to Transtar Travel’s website. I chose the travel date, made the payment, and pressed enter. My heart started pumping fast when there was a notification saying ‘payment unsuccessful’.
“I tried refreshing the screen, and a notification saying “please wait in the waiting room” appeared. It was really disappointing then.
“Then suddenly, at 8.13am, I almost jumped out of my chair when I received a message saying ‘payment successful,’ together with a ‘ticket confirmation’ to Johor Bahru dated Dec 24. Alhamdulillah, I got it,” he said.
Wan Muhammad Fazlan, among the thousands of Malaysians stranded in Singapore after the borders were closed to contain COVID-19, is excited to return home and meet up with family members.
He advised those who succeeded in getting a ticket to take care of themselves when they return home, and for those who failed to get their ticket to be patient.
“Be patient. Insya Allah, this is a beginning for more Malaysians stranded in Singapura to start commuting again,” he added.