Tickets sold out within 20 minutes from one provider for Singapore-Malaysia land VTL bus service

Travellers scrambled to get bus tickets for quarantine-free land travel to Johor Baru on Thursday (Nov 25), the first day tickets went on sale.

Tickets were sold out within about 20 minutes for one of the two bus service operators.

Checks on websites for the two service providers for the upcoming land vaccinated travel lane (VTL) between Singapore and Malaysia at 8am, when the tickets were released for sale, showed that virtual waiting rooms had been created to deal with high volumes of traffic.

The website of Singapore bus company Transtar Travel did not appear to be able to keep up with the demand, as some users reported issues accessing the booking system.

On its website, a notice stated that users were placed in a virtual waiting room because of "high user volume". Passengers had 15 minutes to book tickets and could select up to five slots per trip. At 8.23am, all tickets for the next 30 days were sold out.

Meanwhile, the queue in the virtual waiting room on the website of Malaysia bus company Handal Indah extended to more than 4,600 people. Users were informed that they had 10 minutes to enter the website, as well as told the number of users in line ahead of them.

From next Monday, Singapore and Malaysia will permit quarantine-free travel at the Woodlands land checkpoint using designated buses.

On Wednesday, the authorities said up to 2,880 people will be able to cross the Causeway each day - up to 1,440 in each direction. The hotly anticipated arrangement comes after almost 20 months of border restrictions.

For now, those travelling via the land VTL have to be citizens, permanent residents or long-term pass holders of the country that they are entering. This includes work pass holders, student pass holders and long-term visit pass holders.