MustShareMail: Why Should We Put Up With JB Customs’ Shocking Inefficiency?
I stood waiting for 4 hours at the JB checkpoint. So did the 78-year-old Ahma beside me.
On Friday (2 June), a public holiday, I decided to cross the Causeway to Johor Bahru (JB) for a quick getaway.
Knowing that it’s the world’s busiest land-crossing and how incredibly crazy it gets during holidays, I expected crowds to peak on Thursday evening, the eve of a public holiday.
So I waited till late Friday morning to make my way to Woodlands Checkpoint. Buses were crowded, and I did queue for a good 30 minutes to board the bus to JB CIQ Complex. But crowds were moving considerably. And it took barely two minutes to exit through the e-gate at Woodlands.
When I reached the JB Checkpoint, however, I found myself walking to the end of a very long and packed swarm of people. Hundreds were stuck even before going up to the immigration hall.
I later understood that it was because the hall was packed and crowds were not being cleared fast enough, causing the hold-up. The escalator up the hall was also malfunctioning, slowing things down even more.
20 minutes later, we climbed up to customs. It was a massive hall with lots of space, but it was water-tight full. There must’ve been thousands crammed in front of what I remember to be 18 counters. There was no line.
30 minutes into the queue, I realised what was wrong – we were barely moving. We would stand at the exact spot looking at the same cracked tile on the floor for half an hour....