Ticket demand crushes Singapore-Malaysia bus operator sites

Messages greeting visitors at Transtar Travel and Causeway Link sites this morning. Images: Transtar Travel, Causeway Link
Messages greeting visitors at Transtar Travel and Causeway Link sites this morning. Images: Transtar Travel, Causeway Link

Bus companies were clearly not prepared for the amount of traffic they got after news Singapore-Malaysia land travel would reopen.

When tickets went up for grabs at 8am this morning, websites for bus operators Transtar Travel and Handal Indah, aka Causeway Link, crashed and have remained offline.

“We are experiencing high user volume and have placed you in a virtual waiting room. You will be let in to the bus ticket purchase portal when slots are available. Alternatively, you may come back later,” Singapore bus company Transtar Travel’s site said this morning.

Causeway Link’s website said that it had a “server error,” and Transtar Travel was “under maintenance” at one point.

Causeway Link about an hour after ticket sales opened posted bus timings for the first week and said that more will be revealed soon.

Screenshots posted by customers showed more than 9,000 users waiting as of 9am. Some complained about the long wait while others were stuck on the payment pages.

“The website crash… 😭 Stuck at the payment page.. cannot pay. Very sad 😭,” Denise MK Tan wrote.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday announced that those vaccinated would finally be allowed to cross the causeway that links Singapore to Johor, Malaysia, from Monday onward without the need to quarantine. They must show a negative COVID-19 test result before departure and those traveling from Singapore will be subjected to on-arrival tests.

The number of travelers by bus is capped at nearly 3,000 daily. Each operator can only take up to 32 daily trips with up to 45 passengers on each bus. Tickets start at S$15 for adults and S$8 for children from Singapore, and RM20 for adults and RM10 for children from Malaysia.

Transtar Travel will handle routes from Singapore’s Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange to Johor’s Larkin Sentral Bus Terminal while Malaysia bus company Handal Indah will travel from the Queen Street Bus Terminal in Singapore.

Flights to Kuala Lumpur will also resume Monday.

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